Khairy says all slots for AstraZeneca vaccine snapped up in just over three hours

A dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is displayed at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, Britain January 2, 2021. — Reuters pic
A dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is displayed at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, Britain January 2, 2021. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — All 268,000 slots for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines have been taken up in just over three hours after the registration was opened to the public at 12pm today.

“All AZ slots are booked,” Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin announced on Twitter at about 3.20pm this evening.

Social media was rife with shared complaints of frustrated efforts to get the vaccine earlier, which is on a parallel track, but not part of the main national vaccination programme.

The backlash was ostensibly sparked by the seeming disappearance of slots within seconds of the application for the AstraZeneca vaccine opening at noon today.

Khairy, acknowledging how difficult it was to secure an appointment, apologised for the “glitch”.

“My apologies for the initial glitch and multiple refreshes,” he tweeted.

“You can still click on the grey boxes to put yourself on the waitlist for the next couple of hours. We will start pushing appointments to your MySj (MySejahtera app) or SMS soon,” the minister added.

The government announced a separate AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine programme last month after concerns emerged that the European-made vaccine could cause blood clots in very rare instances.

Although the World Health Organisation has since assured people that the risk of contracting and dying from the Covid-19 disease is significantly higher than getting dangerous side effects from the vaccine, fears still remain.

Despite this, Malaysia received 268,800 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine on April 24 with a million more expected by this month, Khairy said today.

The AstraZeneca vaccines are available via separate appointments only, as opposed to the national immunisation programme — which currently prohibits registrants to choose between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines used in the programme.

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