KOTA KINABALU: The pace of Covid-19 vaccinations in Sabah's northern Kota Marudu district has been forced to slow down due to insufficient supplies of vaccines.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said it was causing an inconvenience for rural folk who were the most affected.
"Vaccination appointments had to be postponed at the last minute due to insufficient supplies of vaccine and some were told only when they reached the centres.
"Such a situation should not happen, especially those from far flung areas. We are worried that it would discourage them from coming for the next appointment," he said.
Speaking after flagging off the second Covid-19 Vaccination Outreach Programme to the hinterlands of Magandai in Kota Marudu Tuesday (July 13), Ongkili said he hoped that the issues pertaining to supplies of vaccines would be overcome at the soonest.
"I believe this situation is not restricted to Kota Marudu alone, but other districts in Sabah as well as in Sarawak.
“I have brought the matter up with both Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
"I hope the relevant authorities will ensure there is enough vaccine supply for the Bornean Malaysian states," he added.
However, Ongkili said the government has done its best and was committed to ensuring every Malaysian was given their Covid-19 vaccine shots through the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
"We believe inoculation processes can be ramped up through outreach programmes to ensure that far-flung folk are not neglected," he said.
To date, of the slightly over 50,000 population in Kota Marudu, only a total of 27,589 (55%) have registered for the vaccination programme.
"Of the figure, a total of 7,899 have received their first dose while 5,408 have completed both doses in Kota Marudu area while for the Matunggong area 1,060 have received their first dose and 1,052 have done both," he added.
"Despite the insufficient supplies, I am happy that many turned up for the inoculation programme, it is encouraging although initially the response was rather slow," added Ongkili