KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg will be the first person in Sarawak to be given the Covid-19 vaccine when the immunisation programme is rolled out later this month.
This was confirmed by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah as he encouraged eligible Sarawakians to register for the vaccination.
"I can tell you that the Chief Minister will be the first to be vaccinated," he said at the state disaster management committee's briefing here on Friday (Feb 19).
Sarawak's three-phase vaccination programme is scheduled to be launched here on Feb 27.
Uggah said the state would not make it compulsory for everyone to get the jab but had set a target of vaccinating 2.2 million people aged 18 and above, including Sarawakians and non-Sarawakians, residing in the state.
He said the state Health Department's experts had prepared materials explaining the importance of vaccination to be disseminated state-wide so that the public would be informed and ready.
"We hope everyone wants to be vaccinated, but we are not going to force them. That's why you have to sign a consent form," he said.
Uggah said eligible individuals could register for the vaccination through the MySejahtera application or at public health clinics, hospitals and district offices throughout Sarawak.
He urged the public not to submit their registration details to any other parties.
State Health director Dr Chin Zin Hing said the target of 2.2 million people represented 80% of Sarawak's population, which is needed in order to achieve herd immunity.
"That's why we need to get as many as possible of those aged 18 and above who are eligible. The vaccine is provided free, so I think we should take the opportunity," he said.
Dr Chin added that other countries which had started vaccination had seen a decrease in the number and severity of cases as well as hospitalisations.
Separately, Uggah said the state disaster management committee planned to recommend that the Federal Government allow foreign workers to enter Sarawak by March.
He said this would help to minimise the entry of illegal immigrants, who were among the sources of imported Covid-19 cases in the state.
"By having legal foreign workers, we will make sure that they are tested and healthy," he said.