KOTA KINABALU: Sabah wants the Federal Government to channel China’s vaccines to the state in efforts to speed up the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (pic) said additional vaccinations are needed to complement efforts to ramp up the drive to immunise 2.84 million of its population under the programme.
"We still need the additional vaccines to ensure that the plan in remote and rural Sabah areas is not disrupted. Many rural Sabahans are yet to be vaccinated," said Bung, who is state Works Minister, on Thursday (June 17).
He was responding to Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s statement that both China and Japan were prepared to contribute vaccines to Malaysia.
Hishammuddin said China was prepared to donate 500,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccine while Japan offered AstraZeneca vaccines that were manufactured in the country.
Bung said 500,000 doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine are practical for use in Sabah's rural areas where vaccine storage would not be a major issue.
Although the vaccination programme is moving smoothly in rural areas, there is no denying that a high number of rural folk are still reluctant to be vaccinated due to a lack of information and understanding of the positive effect of vaccination, he added.
"Proactive measures are being taken by grassroots leaders to educate the people about the need to get vaccinated," he said, adding that the vaccination drive is the best "exit strategy" to end the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sabah’s vaccination drive seems to be lagging compared with other areas in the country with slightly over 10,000 doses administered per day over the last few days.
On Tuesday (June 15), Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said the state hoped to be able to achieve herd immunity by the end of the year as efforts were underway to push vaccination drive in all areas of the state.