Khairy: Sabah to start vaccinating adolescents at end October once adult herd immunity achieved

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is expected to start vaccinating its adolescents around the end of October once the adult herd immunity target is reached, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pic).

After co-chairing the state-level Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) meeting with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor on Monday (Sept 6), he said the Federal Government is committed to sending Sabah 2.89 million Covid-19 vaccine doses this month.

"With these deliveries, we are confident Sabah will be able to increase daily jabs to between 60,000 and 70,000 a day.

"We are still mantaining the target of 60% of the adult population to be fully immunised by the end of September, and 80% by the end of October.

"Once we reach the target for the adult population, or nearing 80% in October, I have informed the Chief Minister that we can start vaccinating adolescents in Sabah," he told a press conference after the meeting.

On whether or not Sabah will receive more single-dose CanSino vaccines, Khairy said 100,000 doses are scheduled to be delivered to Malaysia by next week and 200,000 more by the end of the month.

“So we will only get 300,000 for September due to limited supplies because of global demand, and will make distributions to Sabah accordingly.

“In October, we should expect more CanSino vaccine doses, and of course Sabah will be the state given priority for this single-dose vaccine,” he added.

He also announced that his ministry had sent 480 oxygen cylinders, 24 cartons of oxygen regulators and five cartons of Covid-19 medicines to arrive in Sabah on Tuesday (Sept 7) to help mitigate the Covid-19 situation here.

His announcement came in the wake of concerns raised about the limited oxygen assistance equipment available in Sabah to cater to the growing number of Covid-19 cases.

He said there had been several requests for additional equipment from the state government.

The Health Ministry will also provide the Tawau Hospital with a modular intensive care unit (ICU) with 10 beds expected to be operational by month's end, he added.

“The ministry will also provide 29 additional ambulances for hospitals across Sabah,” Khairy said.

At the same time, ministry human resources will be mobilised in Sabah.

“Some 97 of the 150 permanently appointed officers have been ordered to report to duty in this state on Aug 2 and Sept 1, while 50 additional medical officers have been offered permanent appointments starting Sept 13.

“The remainder of medical officers needed will be filled by housemen.

“I will also ensure that the 78 medical assistants who were deployed in Selangor previously will be returned to Sabah. I believed most will report for duty here by the end of this week at the latest,” he added.

At the moment, ICU usage in Sabah is at 90% with ventilators at 46%, Khairy said.

“I will also discuss projections for Sabah with the Sabah Health Department, to ensure ICU and oxygen capacity are sufficient and will not become a problem,” he added.

He hoped that with more vaccinations, additional assets and increased manpower, the Covid-19 situation in Sabah will improve.

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