Protecting Sarawak

Vaccines are the tugboats of preventive health.

– William Foege, American physician and epidemiologist

There are many aspects to protecting Sarawakians.

The one that takes precedence now and with the utmost urgency and importance is the Covid-19 vaccination programme currently underway in Sarawak. 

It is essential that all of us, who are eligible to register, participate and promote this Covid-19 immunisation activity being carried out by the Sarawak government and Health Ministry.

To ensure that the vaccination programme here proceeds effectively, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has allotted additional funds to support it to purchase additional items.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who is also SDMC chairman, has also stated that all in Sarawak would receive their vaccines.

He revealed that as of March 5, 12,961 individuals in Sarawak have been vaccinated.

To kick off the preparation in Miri, the minister-in-charge of the Miri Division Disaster Management Committee Datuk Lee Kim Shin, got busy and oversaw the setting up of the vaccination centres in Miri.

Manpower and logistics were challenging tasks.

After several meetings and site visits by him and his team, the vaccination centres were up and running.

The Miri Red Crescent, Miri District (MRC) was invited to participate and a total of 25 staff and volunteers signed up to help.

I was assigned to the centre in Eastwood Valley Golf & Country Club for the first phase vaccination programme.

Before the vaccination programme, on March 2 at 9am all those participating attended a briefing by the Health Ministry at their respective vaccination centres in Miri City.

The vaccination workflow process was explained to all the staff of the agencies and also to MRC volunteers.

On the same day at 2.30pm, there was a simulation of the vaccination process. Various people were roped in to play the part of being vaccinated.

After this simulation exercise, we had a debriefing session whereby we gave our feedback.

On March 3 in the afternoon, we had another round of simulation that incorporated the changes from the feedback and observations by the doctor in charge and other medical personnel.

On March 5 and we had the final simulation run that included all the fine-tuning from March 3. All went smoothly.

On March 6, Day 1 of the vaccination programme, all those on duty came at their allotted time and the processing began.

I was assigned to the triage station at the front end of the process and assisted the medical staff there.

This was the entry point for all those coming to be vaccinated. Several eager vaccine receivers turned up earlier than their appointed time.

The VIPs led by Lee came at 3 pm and had their vaccination, encouraging and setting a good example for the public.

On Day 2, March 7, a sunny day, all went much smoother as everyone had become very familiar with their tasks.

Day 3, March 8 started with a massive downpour of rain.

However, all those on duty coped very well and the vaccinations proceeded on schedule, with the doctor in charge coordinating the functions very well.

I too received my vaccination on this day at 10 am and carried on with my assigned tasks as all was fine after the jab.

It was good to see that everyone assigned to their tasks carried them out well and there were no complains.

There was indeed a strong sense of purpose and duty by all involved and I do believe this is what is happening nationwide.

This is the spirit and sense of oneness that carries our people through difficult times.

So, now the important question — when will we be able to see a decline in infections in Sarawak?

Well, one of the reports I read mentioned that only when more than 40 percent of its population have been vaccinated would there be a sustained decrease in infections.

So, we in Sarawak must get registered as soon as possible to ensure we see a drastic reduction in Covid-19 infections.

It is also only a matter of time that most likely the government and or airlines make it a condition for international travel — that is only those who have received vaccination can board flights or can enter a country.

You never know, perhaps even a precondition for attending certain events and even restaurants.

Once again, I would urge all in Sarawak to play their part in protecting Sarawak by getting vaccinated.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.