KUCHING, Feb 24 — Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg has approved a sum of RM30 million to transport by road the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 doses to various destinations in the state, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said during a press conference held at the Kuching International Airport (KIA) here today.
He said the Residents’ Offices of the respective divisions and the district offices will work closely with the state Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to prepare the logistics and to ensure that the people in the interior will also get the vaccine.
“The process is very tedious, and it needs a lot of planning, manpower and materials. The chief minister has approved RM30 million for the logistics arrangement in Sarawak,” he told reporters after receiving the first batch of the Covid-19 vaccine here this evening.
Uggah, who is also the SDMC chairman, said some of the vaccine doses are destined for the interior and he believes that SDMC, with its experience of dealing with many crises in the state previously, will be up for the challenge.
“This is one of the biggest exercises to be undertaken by SDMC. Our plan is to vaccinate 2.2 million Sarawakians and non-Sarawakians who reside in the state,” he said.
He said the vaccine will be sent only by road, even to remote destinations, with a police escort.
He hoped that the exercise will be completed by the end of August this year.
State Health director Dr Chin Zin Hing, who was present at the press conference, said the first batch of 23,400 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine under the first phase will be for frontliners.
He said the second batch of 31,509 doses will arrive on March 2, and the third shipment of 4,680 doses will arrive on March 10.
He added the fourth shipment of 4,680 doses will arrive on March 17, the fifth shipment of 14,040 doses will arrive on March 24 and the last shipment of 31,360 doses will arrive on March 31.
He said these doses will also be for the frontliners.
Dr Chin said the vaccination programme, which starts this Friday, is expected to cover over 97,100 frontliners by March 31.
“We plan to cover about 900,000 elderly and those suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and other serious ailments, and another 900,000 for those over 18 years, by August 31,” he said.