Sabah needs more Covid-19 vaccines, says MP

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Datuk Christina Liew (centre) during a walkabout at Gaya Street (Sunday Market) in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah September 13, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Datuk Christina Liew (centre) during a walkabout at Gaya Street (Sunday Market) in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah September 13, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KOTA KINABALU, June 23 — Sabah must get a consistent and adequate supply of vaccines in order to achieve its target of vaccinating 80 per cent of its population this year, said an opposition lawmaker.

Tawau MP Datuk Christina Liew said the federal government must ensure Sabah receives its share of supply of Covid-19 vaccines when the country receives a new consignment next month as reported.

“It would defeat the purpose of getting people to register for vaccination by the thousands, only to make them wait indefinitely for their appointment schedule as had been reported by affected registrants.

“This uncertain situation should not arise if we have a sufficient supply of vaccines at our disposal for us to do the needful towards achieving herd immunity by year’s end as envisioned,” she said in a statement today.

Liew, who is also Api Api Assemblywoman, said as of June 22, the Tawau Parliamentary People’s Service Centre had helped register 3,312 people in an effort to speed up the pace of vaccination.

“However, of the figure, only 367 had their first dose of the vaccine this month,” she pointed out, adding this month alone, Tawau recorded more than 20 Covid-19 deaths.

She said the vaccination registration exercise gained momentum when the People’s Service Centre was mobilised to get the public registered with the cooperation of the Tawau Health Office.

To allay the people’s fears, Liew said the centre had led the way in getting staff and family members vaccinated to show that the vaccines were safe.

President of the Tawau Municipal Council (MPT), Arnold Joibi, when contacted, confirmed the increase in the number of people registering for the vaccination.

“This shows that intensified efforts by the local elected representatives and people’s development leaders (PPMs) in assisting to encourage the people to register are bearing fruits.

According to Joibi, the total number of people in Tawau who have completed two doses of vaccination as of June 19, stands at 23,230.

Tawau, on the east coast, has been a hotbed of Covid 19 cases since the third wave last year.

She, along with other lawmakers from both sides of the political divide, like Umno and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah, have been urged to prioritise Sabah more in terms of vaccines to continue its current momentum.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup was among those who recently urged Putrajaya to send more vaccines to Sabah as the state ramps up its inoculation capabilities.

Sabah has been trailing behind the rest of the country in terms of population vaccinated, with only 4.38 per cent, or 128,587 people fully vaccinated at the moment.

Sabah also has the lowest rate of registrations for vaccination in the country, at 29.7 per cent.

A big factor has been the rural areas where awareness as well as facilities is slow to reach.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor has promised that the immunisation programme will be ramped up in the coming weeks from about 10,000 jabs a day now to 30,000 jabs a day by next month.

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