KOTA KINABALU: Covid-19 vaccination drives in Sabah should be decentralised so that they can be sped up, say business groups in the state.
Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda) president Datuk Chua Soon Ping said that fast and effective inoculation via decentralisation could help stem the spread of the virus.
He said the health authorities could further expedite and expand its reach to the people in various places in Sabah by allowing clinics to administer the vaccine.
Chua also said clinics should also be allowed to administer the vaccines so the public could walk-in to get jabbed.
"There will be no additional venue costs incurred if clinics are included in the immunisation programme," said Chua proposing a fee of RM70 for the entire two-dose course of vaccination.
He added that the decentralisation of vaccination centres would also reduce the risk of mass infection as seen in inoculation centres recently, referring to some 453 workers found infected at a vaccination centre in Shah Alam last week.
"The state should aim to vaccinate 60,000 people per day or one million people per month," he said, adding that the state itself should make efforts to buy up vaccines from the open market. As the supply of vaccines from the Federal Government has not been consistent, it is time for the Sabah state government to take up the responsibility and import its own vaccines.
"There are many vaccines already available on the open market," he said in a statement Thursday (July 22).
He said Sabah remains on the lowest rung in the country in terms of inoculation, with just 12.2% of its population vaccinated.
Chua said that stricter border control also should be done to contain imported Covid-19 cases and those involving variants of concern (VOC).
Chua said the recent spike in cases in Sabah that hit over 650 Covid-19 cases was worrying as the numbers were similar to October last year when the state slipped into a major outbreak.
Meanwhile, Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC) chairman Tan Sri David Chu said that all economic sectors - essential or non-essential - should be re-opened without further delay as the state could not afford to continue its almost 20-months of economic closure.
"We cannot afford to wait for the Covid-19 numbers to plummet," he said, adding that the government must ensure that all workers are vaccinated quickly and SOPs followed.