Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sarawak could be first state to achieve vaccine target, says Khairy

He says Sarawak must hit a daily injection rate of not less than 45,000 in order to reach its target.

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National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has given his assurance that Sarawak will receive 4.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to achieve herd immunity by the end of August.

Speaking at press conference in Kuching today, he said a total of 380,000 doses would be delivered to the state in the first week of June.

“I would like to thank the Sarawak state government, especially the chief minister and Douglas Uggah (deputy chief minister) for their offer to procure their own vaccines.

“However, the federal government has given assurance that we will give the full supply of vaccine to Sarawak.”

He said enough vaccine would be sent for the 2.2 million people in the state before the end of August.

In order to complete the immunisation programme in Sarawak by then, Khairy who is science, technology and innovation minister said the state must hit a daily injection rate of not less than 45,000.

“Our focus now is on how to implement it so that when the supply of vaccine reaches Sarawak, we can inject more quickly,” he said.

“With that average rate, we will be able to complete the vaccination for the people of Sarawak before the end of August.”

Khairy also said the Sarawak Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force, together with the state disaster management committee, would mobilise a team to carry out the vaccination programme in the rural areas.

“We will also open vaccination centres at industrial areas including factory and plantation areas. We will set up a committee to ensure the labourers at factories and plantations are vaccinated.

“Therefore, the focus is to increase the manpower to boost capacity at the vaccination centres.”

He said they had also agreed to open more vaccination centres in Sarawak.

“At the moment, there are seven private hospitals and 39 private clinics that have been gazetted for PICK,” he said, adding that Sarawak would implement a hybrid immunisation system to speed up its vaccination programme.

He said he would visit other states in the following week to oversee the immunisation programme.

When asked if Sarawak was being prioritised to receive the full supply of vaccine due to concerns over the state election, Khairy said Sarawak needs to achieve herd immunity to avoid another wave of Covid-19 infections.

He cited the Sabah election in September last year which had triggered a surge of infections after many travelled back to the state to cast their ballots.

“It is not political preference but a legal requirement for public health. Should the emergency end by Aug 1, then by law Sarawak is required to conduct its state election within 60 days.

“With that in mind, there needs to be some form of accelerated vaccination for Sarawak, in the event that it must hold a state election should the emergency conclude as scheduled.

“Remember the Sabah election last year? If the state is not fully vaccinated by then, both Sarawak and the entire country will be at risk of another Covid-19 wave.”

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