Covid-19: Sabah govt urged to extend deadline for businesses to fully vaccinate workers

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has been urged to extend the Sept 15 deadline requiring businesses to fully vaccinate their workers as the Covid-19 vaccination drive has yet to take off in many areas in the state.

Sandakan Health Clinic Advisory Panel chairman Chan Boon Thian said that many employers and businesses particularly those in the Sandakan area have yet to get their workers fully inoculated.

Unlike other states in Peninsular Malaysia where employees of large companies are vaccinated under the Public-Private Partnership Industrial Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (Pikas), he said many in Sabah experienced difficulties to arrange for the hundreds of workers to receive even the first dose of vaccination because the programme has yet to take off in Sandakan.

“The grace period of one month for the fully vaccinated requirement is too short and leaves many employers in a quandary due to the large number of non-local workers hired,” Chan said.

The Sabah government has given employers and workers up to Sept 15 to be fully vaccinated before enforcing the SOP that came into effect on Aug 15.

Chan said in the absence of programmes like Pikas, employers here have problems getting their non-local workers vaccinated while many of the workers did not have smartphones and the required documents.

“Those who managed to register for vaccination through MySejahtera have yet to receive the appointment date and the walk-in vaccination centres currently are only for Malaysians,” he added.

Chan said even if these non-local workers are to receive their first dose of vaccination before Sept 15, employers would not be able to meet the deadline as the second dose would take another three weeks.

Chan also said there was a shortage of vaccine supply at private clinics.

Over the last few days, many vaccination centres across the state have not been reaching their targets as there was a reduction in the supplies of vaccines.

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