KOTA KINABALU: Priority will be given to Sabah when three million single-dose CanSino Covid-19 vaccines arrive in Malaysia next month, says Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin.
The coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme said the federal government will reserve the first shipment for Sabah and will similarly notify and give options to Sabah on the Johnson & Johnson single-dose Covid-19 vaccine as well.
He was quoted as saying this in a press release issued by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor’s office following a virtual meeting with Khairy and other leaders on Friday (July 23).
Khairy had apparently given his assurances on the matter in response to Hajiji’s call for more vaccines to be supplied to Sabah to speed up the state’s vaccination target of 60% by October and to reach herd immunity by the end of the year.
“It is also crucial that we reach communities in the interior areas and far-flung islands where mobility is hampered by rough terrain and distance,” Hajiji said.
“We have opened up a total of 177 vaccine administration centres (PPV) throughout the state to date and together with mobile outreach facilities and the Army’s Medic Vaccination programme, we are on track to get more people vaccinated,” he told Khairy.
Thanking the federal government for all cooperation extended to Sabah in the vaccination programme, Hajiji welcomed Khairy’s gesture in the midst of vaccine supply constraints.
Apart from Hajiji, other leaders including Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin had repeatedly called for more vaccines to be supplied to Sabah as the state has among the least vaccine recipients in the country.
Meanwhile, Sabah Health Director Dr Rose Nani Mudin disclosed that Sabah’s first integrated vaccine administration centre will kick off next week at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC).
This centre will roll out free Covid-19 vaccines and allow private hospitals to assist in speeding up the vaccination process.
This will take the load off the current overwhelmed public hospitals, she added.
Also present at the virtual meet were Sabah Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun who is also the state Covid-19 spokesperson, Community Development and People's Well-being Minister Shahelmey Yahya and State Secretary Datuk Seri Safar Untong.
With Khairy were Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Health, Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood and Deputy Army Chief, Lieutenant General Datuk Mohammad Ab Rahman.