Labuan today completed fully vaccinating 80% of its adult population, becoming the first among federal territories and states in the country to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.
The federal territory has immunised 54,800 of the 68,500 adults listed as eligible for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).
The Labuan Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) and the Labuan Disaster Management Committee described the programme as a difficult task but acknowledged that great team work had resulted in the success of the exercise.
“We are pleased to have achieved herd immunity three days earlier than the targeted date of July 30,” Labuan CITF chairman Rithuan Ismail said.
“The achievement is the success of the people on the island, who are aware of the importance of vaccination against Covid-19, and teamwork from the task force and committee as well as the volunteers, namely the Privo Team (Prihatin Volunteers).
“The number of people vaccinated in June was less than 14,000 but it rose drastically to 40,800 in 37 days and (to the figure) today,” he told Bernama after witnessing an individual getting a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, to complete the immunisation of 54,800 people, at the drive-through vaccination centre at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah Labuan International Campus.
The Labuan Covid-19 Immunisation Programme was launched on Feb 27 by senator Bashir Alias who became the first person in Labuan to receive a shot of vaccine.
Overall, the vaccination exercise in Labuan proceeded smoothly despite a spike in the number of cases and the emergence of the Delta variant.
As of yesterday, Labuan had recorded a cumulative total of 9,607 cases of Covid-19 and 146 deaths from the disease. Eight cases were recorded yesterday but no deaths.
Labuan CITF had recorded 95.7% or 65,521 of the 68,500 adults in the population receiving a first dose of vaccine as of yesterday.
In a move to expedite the achievement of herd immunity, the CITF and Labuan Natural Disaster Management Committee, led by Labuan Health Department personnel, had extended the vaccination push to include a house-to-house exercise to cover people with disabilities (PwD) and the bedridden.
“We also implemented walk-in and drive-thru vaccination, coordinated by the people’s representative council, which saw an overwhelming turnout of residents from 27 villages to the vaccination centres,” he said.
Labuan had established nine vaccination centres, including one at the international ferry terminal for workers in the shipping, and oil and gas sectors.
The Labuan Natural Disaster Management Committee and CITF are led by the health department with representatives from the Labuan Corporation, National Security Council, police, Civil Defence Force and fire and rescue department.
Labuan Health Department director Dr Ismuni Bohari said Labuan folk must be ready to live with Covid-19 and continue to adhere to the SOPs.
“At least for one to two years, we will have to live with the pandemic. We must ensure our family members and friends are fully vaccinated to protect ourselves against Covid-19,” he said.