KUCHING: Sarawak is able to carry out the Covid-19 inoculation for adolescents aged 12 to 15 ahead of schedule because Sabah returned the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to Sarawak earlier.
Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the inoculation for those in the age group was supposed to begin next month.
“Originally, we were scheduled to vaccinate those 12 to 15 years old by next month only. But Sabah returned us the vaccine earlier so that is why we have brought forward the date of vaccination for this aged group (to this month),” he said.
Dr Sim revealed this after handing over a mock cheque for RM1.3 million contributed by the Sarawak government to SJK (C) Chung Hua Batu 4 1/2 for the construction of its new classroom block on Saturday (Sept 25).
Last month, the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) flew 99,400 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from Sarawak to Tawau, Sabah. The vaccine doses were lent by the Sarawak government as the Sabah government wanted to achieve the immunisation target of 80 percent of its population by next month.
Dr Sim, who is also the Local Government and Housing Minister, added that following the return of vaccine from Sabah, the best thing to do was to inoculate those aged 12 to 15 quickly against Covid-19.
“We have completed the vaccination of those aged 16 and 17. And as we have received the vaccine after Sabah returns it to us, the most important thing to do is to vaccinate the school children and not keep it in the fridge,” he said.
Dr Sim added those aged 12 to 15 would be vaccinated either at their respective schools or at the vaccination centres (PPVs).
“Besides the State Health Department (JKNS), I want to thank the schools for their cooperation in preparing the vaccination schedules.
“Sarawak is the first in the whole of Malaysia to start vaccinating those aged 12 to 15 following the success of the inoculation of our adult population and those aged 16 and 17 recently,” he said.
He also stressed that the vaccination was important as it helped to decrease the severity of the virus as well as death caused by Covid-19.
“I also seek the public to understand the Covid-19 policies which have changed in this post-vaccination period and at the same time we can reopen the economy safely.
“It is impossible that there will be zero Covid cases, especially with the presence of the Delta variant.
“So, the way we approach the whole thing is to live with the virus… 99 percent of the people (in Category 1 and 2) will be alright when they do self-testing, self-monitoring, and self-isolation and then we focus on that one percent of people who are in Category 3 to 5,” he said.
Dr Sim also revealed that the Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin would be visiting Sarawak today (Sept 26) and discussion would be held to see what the state would need.