S’wak first to give booster shots

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (left) visit Sarawak General Hospital, Field Hospital during his short working visit and a meeting on Sarawak's immunisation and pandemic management in Kuching Sarawak.— ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Sarawak will administer Covid-19 vaccine booster shots from next month, making it the first state in the country to do so, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said the ministry was drawing up clinical guidelines on administering the vaccine booster shots, with emphasis on the high-risk age group of 60 and above and those with severe comorbidities.

“Sarawak will be the first state to start with the booster dose programme as it is the earliest to complete the vaccination exercise.

“One of the matters to deal with in the clinical guidelines is the type of vaccine to be given.

“We are still contemplating whether to give the same type of vaccine or a different one,” Khairy told a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here yesterday.

Earlier, he attended a special meeting on the immunisation programme and managing the Covid-19 pandemic with representatives of the state government.

For Sarawak, the ministry is of the view that the RTK-Antigen test, whether done in the lab or performed by the individual, is sufficient for those tested positive to be isolated under the Home Surveillance Order.

“It is important for the public, including those in Sarawak, to be informed that when having symptoms, they should quickly do the RTK-Antigen test and if found to be positive, to undergo quarantine at home or at the Covid-19 Low Risk Quarantine and Treatment Centre (PKRC),” he added.

To boost the state’s health capacity to counter any rise in serious cases, 118 ventilators and 1,008 cylinders of oxygen are expected to arrive in the state tomorrow.

“The ministry will also increase the number of modular intensive care units with an additional 20 beds.

“Currently, 10 beds are being readied for Sibu Hospital and we leave it to the state government to decide on placing the other additional beds,” he said.

Khairy added that the ministry had also received a request from the Sarawak government to set up a field hospital in Sibu.

He said this had been agreed upon in principle pending discussions with the Malaysian Armed Forces.

He also said 64 additional medical officers would be sent to Sarawak next week.

“The ministry will also speed up the opening of Hospital Sri Aman to ease the burden of the Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching,” he told reporters. — Bernama

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