KOTA KINABALU: Emergency medical supplies are being flown to Sabah to help overstretched medical facilities and health frontliners to meet unabating Covid-19 cases across the state.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Armed Forces would fly in 480 units of oxygen cylinders, 24 boxes of oxygen regulators and five boxes of Covid-19 medicines today.
“We hope the additional medical supplies will help mitigate the Covid-19 situation here,” he told reporters at the state-level Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) meeting with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor yesterday.
Khairy said that modular intensive care units (ICU) with 10 beds would also be placed at the army’s field hospital in Tawau to cope with cases in the east coast districts.
He said that to date, Sabah had 27 dedicated Covid-19 hospitals with a total of 151 ICU beds and 1,743 beds for Covid-19 patients not needing intensive care support.
“The Health Ministry will also provide 29 additional ambulances for hospitals across Sabah,” he added.
He also announced that the ministry’s manpower would be mobilised to assist staff in Sabah.
“A total of 97 of the 150 permanently appointed officers have been ordered to report for duty in this state on Aug 2 and Sept 1, while 50 additional medical officers are offered permanent appointments starting Sept 13.
“The remainder of the medical officers needed will be filled by housemen.
“I will also ensure that the 78 medical assistant officers that were mobilised for Selangor previously will be returned to Sabah. Most will report for duty here latest by end of this week,” he said.
On another development, Khairy said Sabah was expected to start vaccinating the adolescent group around the end of October once the target for herd immunity is reached.
He said with the Federal Government already committed to sending 2.89 million vaccine doses to Sabah this month, they were confident that Sabah would be able to provide between 60,000 and 70,000 jabs a day.
“We are still maintaining the target which is 60% of the adult population in Sabah will be fully immunised by the end of September, and 80% of the population will be fully immunised by the end of October.
“Once we reach the targeted adult population vaccination rate, or as we near 80% in October, we can start vaccinating the adolescents in Sabah,” he said.
Asked whether they plan to apply this rule to all the other states, Khairy said this would be recommended when there was adequate vaccine supply.
“Our focus will be on high-risk teenagers, targeting those aged 16 to17 before going lower,” he added.
On whether Sabah will receive more single-dose CanSino vaccines to cater for those in rural areas, Khairy said they were still waiting for 100,000 doses to be delivered to Malaysia by next week and 200,000 more by the end of September.
“So we will only get 300,000 for September because of global demand, and we will make distribution to Sabah accordingly.
“In October, we should expect more CanSino vaccines and, of course, Sabah will be among the states to be given priority for this single-dose vaccine,” he said.