Monday, October 18, 2021

Sarawak to be first to give booster shots

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says Sarawak will be the first to begin the booster dose programme as it was the first to complete the vaccination programme.

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Sarawak will start administering Covid-19 booster shots in October, becoming the first state to do so, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today.

He said the health ministry was drawing up clinical guidelines on administering the booster shots, with the focus on those in the high-risk group aged 60 and above and those with serious comorbidities.

“Sarawak will be the first state to start the booster dose programme because it was the first to complete the vaccination programme.

“One of the matters to be dealt with in the clinical guidelines is the type of vaccine to be given. We are still contemplating whether to give the same type of vaccine or a different one,” he said at a news conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Kuching today.

Khairy had earlier attended a special meeting on immunisation and the management of the Covid-19 pandemic with representatives of the Sarawak government.

He said for Sarawak, the health ministry believed that the RTK-Antigen test, whether done in a laboratory or individually, would be sufficient for those detected as positive via the test to be separated from others under the home surveillance order.

“Hence, it is important for the public to be informed including in Sarawak that when having symptoms, they should quickly do an RTK-Antigen test and, if found to be positive, undergo quarantine at home or at the Covid-19 low-risk quarantine and treatment centre,” he added.

Khairy said the health ministry would also send 118 ventilators and 1,008 cylinders of oxygen to Sarawak to boost its capacity to counter a rise in serious cases should one occur.

The supplies are expected to arrive on Tuesday.

“The health ministry will also increase the number of modular ICUs with an additional 20 beds. Currently, 10 beds are being readied for Sibu Hospital and we leave it to the state government to decide on placing the other additional beds,” he added.

He said the ministry had also received a request from the Sarawak government to set up a field hospital in Sibu and that on principle, it had agreed to this with the matter to be discussed with the armed forces.

He also said that 64 additional medical officers would be sent to Sarawak next week to help manage the Covid-19 cases there.

“The ministry will also speed up the opening of Sri Aman Hospital to reduce the burden at the Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching,” he added.

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