Sabah to reach 60% vaccination target by October

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah should be able to achieve its Covid-19 vaccination target of 60% by October and herd immunity by the year-end if there is no disruption to the supply of vaccines, says public health expert Prof Datuk Dr Yusof Ibrahim.

The Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) senior public health medicine specialist and public health unit head said it was no longer about people being hesitant to get immunised as the number of such individuals was getting smaller.

He said the challenge was how to reach certain remote areas, so the approach that should be given focus now was “going nearer to people” rather than waiting for them to register and come forward.

“As mentioned by various studies, we need about 80% of the people to be on board to get good herd immunity. But as we all are aware, it is very challenging to reach some remote areas.

“Despite this, we are working on it. In fact, our 4x4 teams are helping to transport the Health Ministry’s vaccination team to these rural areas,” he said.

On the immunisation programme, Prof Yusof viewed the progress had improved tremendously.

“Our in-campus UMS vaccination administration centre (PPV) is now doing 3,000 jabs per day, and this will pick up very soon as planned by the end of August.

“If you go to each PPV, you will see similar good support. So if there is no interruption of vaccine supply, we should reach the target rate.

“If Sarawak can do it, there is no reason for Sabah not to,” he said.

According to Sarawak Health director Datuk Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed, Sarawak targeted to administer between 60,000 and 65,000 jabs daily in efforts to achieve herd immunity by the second week of August.

Despite facing similar geographical challenges, Sarawak has one of the fastest vaccination rates with 77.9% of the targeted population having received their first dose and 47.3% being fully inoculated as at July 20.

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