KUCHING: Rural folk in Sarawak's Kapit division have been given the Covid-19 vaccine when they came to the vaccination centre without registering first, says Tan Sri James Masing.
The Deputy Chief Minister said the staff of the Kapit Resident's Office, on their own initiative, brought rural residents with their identity cards to be vaccinated on Monday (June 7) even though their names were not on the list of registered recipients.
"The Health Ministry staff were most understanding and gave them the vaccination.
"It seemed they read the Chief Minister's mind," he said in a statement on Tuesday (June 8).
Masing was responding to Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg's announcement on Monday (June 7) that rural folk in Sarawak would be given the Covid-19 jab if they turn up at vaccination centres without having registered first.
The Chief Minister said this was part of the state government's approach to speed up and widen the vaccination programme, which is targeted for completion by August.
He said their details would be registered after the jab to be entered into the database of those who have been vaccinated.
Masing said the "inject first, register later" approach was the correct one in order for eligible Sarawakians to be vaccinated within the scheduled time frame.
He said the rural population would never be inoculated in time if the vaccine was only given to those registered via the MySejahtera app.
"Our Internet is almost non-existent in longhouses and villages.
"Besides, not all people in rural areas have handphones," he said, adding that the MySejahtera approach favoured the urban community and discriminated against the rural population.
Masing also said the relevant authorities should have used the approach suggested by Abang Johari right from the beginning when vaccines were available.
"Red tape and SOP had created unnecessary obstacles to fight Covid-19 and resulted in unnecessary loss of lives," he added.