Thousands eager to register for AstraZeneca jab... but slots dry up

Keertan Ayamany
·3-min read
A vial and syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken January 11, 2021. — Reuters pic
A vial and syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken January 11, 2021. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Within seconds of the application for the AstraZeneca vaccine opening at noon today, the slots disappeared.

Either they have all been taken up or a technical glitch is preventing people in the Klang Valley and Selangor from submitting their applications.

At the time of writing, social media is rife with shared complaints of frustrated efforts to get the vaccine which is on a parallel track but not part of the main national vaccination programme.

A screenshot of the registration webpage showed a notification reading “Sorry, all slots are full but you can still click on the relevant date or vaccination centre to be inserted in the waiting list”.

“????! I am not seeing the slots???!” exclaimed Twitter user @MuniraMustaffa.

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However, a check at 12.30pm by the MalayMail shows that slots are up for grabs again.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has since taken to Twitter to assure Malaysians that slots are still available, attributing the mishap to “overwhelming traffic (in the) first few minutes” of registrations opening.

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Adding to the confusion, although registrations for the divergent vaccination programme were supposed to only be available at 12pm today, according to netizens, some were able to access the site and make bookings as early as 11am.

Replying to this Khairy — who is the coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme — said this was due to a test being conducted, and registrations before 12pm would not be recorded.

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The divergent AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine programme was announced by Khairy last month after concerns emerged that the European-made vaccine can cause dangerous side effects.

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, in accordance with a previous agreement, Malaysia received 268,800 doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine on April 24.

The AstraZeneca vaccines are available via separate appointments only, as opposed to the national immunisation programme — which currently does not allow registrants to choose between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinovac vaccines used in the programme.

At 1.15pm today Khairy tweeted that 100,000 thousand registrations for the AstraZeneca vaccine had been completed, with approximately 160,000 thousand slots still available.

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Registrations for the AstraZeneca vaccine can be done via http://vaksincovid.gov.my.


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