CM says Sabah’s Covid-19 vaccine drive hamstrung by spotty supply, slow sign-ups

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Sabah has increasing efforts to mobilise teams to rural districts in a bid to boost its immunisation drive. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Sabah has increasing efforts to mobilise teams to rural districts in a bid to boost its immunisation drive. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 23 — Erratic supply of vaccines and low registration of senior citizens on MySejahtera were among the reasons Sabah has been lagging behind other states in terms of the vaccination rate, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

He said that there was also a low number of registrations among those aged 60 years and above on the MySejahtera app in the beginning of Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan.

“There was also a limited supply of vaccines that were sent to the state before mid July which slowed down the vaccination process,” said Hajiji during the question-and-answer session that was read by Community Development and People's Well-Being Minister Shahelmy Yahya.

The state has since then increased the vaccination rate through various strategies including introducing walk-ins at most vaccination centres and setting up mobile outreach programmes but is still the state with the lowest percentage of vaccinated people.

The Special Committee On Covid-19 Vaccine Supply puts Sabah last with 56 per cent of its adult population vaccinated, behind Kelantan with 62 per cent. Its total population vaccination rate is similar at 40 per cent.

The state claims, however, to have vaccinated some 60 per cent of its adult population or 1,614,771 people. Another 1144,248 teenagers between 12- 17 years of age of 33.8 per cent of children have been given one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Hajiji said the state, with its 224 vaccination centres now are rolling at near full force, with a maximum capacity of 83,130 jabs a day.

It is however not reaching its maximum capacity, averaging some 50,000 jabs per day in the last week. This is despite its increasing efforts to mobilise teams to rural districts and inviting walk-ins for all residents including foreigners.

It has so far organised some 733 outreach programmes into hard-to-reach districts and areas like islands, and inoculating some 358,284 people via this channel.

Hajiji also told the assembly that the state has received some 5,042,310 doses of vaccines, with 2.89 million received in September.

Of this, 3,388,320 are Pfizer, 1,284,000 are Sinovac, 189,990 are AstraZeneca and 180,000 are from CanSino.

The state believes it is on track to reach its target of 80 per cent adult population vaccinated by October.

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