Covid-19: Sabah govt probing reasons behind low uptake for adult vaccinations

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government is investigating why there has been a low uptake in Covid-19 vaccinations among the adult population especially in certain urban areas in the east coast of Sabah.

State immunisation programme operations director Shahelmey Yahya said that they were perplexed on why many adults were not coming forward for their vaccinations in nine districts including Tawau and Semporna.

"Based on statistics, there are many still not coming forward for the vaccination," he said when contacted Friday (Oct 1).

However, he said that local officers were verifying the real scenario on the ground.

For instance, Shahelmey said that some of the identified people were presently living outside those districts and have been vaccinated somewhere else.

Shahelmey, who is state Community Development and People's Well-Being Minister, said this when responding to a question on the issue.

Apart from the two urban districts, the seven others were semi-rural Kinabatangan, Telupid, Tongod, Kalabakan, Papar, Semporna and Nabawan had been barred from inter-district travel within the five-zones allowed with effect from Friday.

All the nine districts have yet to achieve 60% of their adult population vaccinated, a prerequisite for the lifting of the inter-district travel within the zones.

"Hopefully, those who do not have any valid medical reasons will consider to be vaccinated as soon as possible," he said.

He said that the rural outreach programmes were still continuing with more house-to-house exercises being carried out.

On Thursday (Sept 30), state Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that travel in and out of the nine districts would not be allowed until and unless 60% of its adult population were fully vaccinated.

As of Friday, Sabah allowed inter-district travels for the remaining 18 districts with over 60% of its adult citizens vaccinated within five identified zones.

The five zones are Zone 1 – Kota Kinabalu, Penampang, Putatan, Tuaran, Ranau and Kota Belud districts, Zone 2 – Beaufort, Sipitang and Kuala Penyu districts, Zone 3 – Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas and Beluran, Zone 4 – Lahad Datu and Kunak and Zone 5 – Keningau, Tambunan and Tenom.

In Sabah, an overall 1,773,611 or 64.3% of the adult population have been fully vaccinated while 2,292,885 or 73.9% have received their first dose as of Sept 29.

Sabah has been recording a declining number of Covid-19 positive cases with a total 872 cases on Friday.

Masidi said in his daily statement that the trend was due to more people being vaccinated and even if they were infected, the symptoms were milder.

He also noted that with the reducing cases, the pressure on the health facilities and frontliners was also showing signs of easing over the last week.

He said with the re-introduction of inter-district travel within zones, the government hoped to get the economy moving as people and businesses had been affected severely by the pandemic.

Masidi, the state Local Government and Housing Minister cum state Finance Minister II, hoped that people would come forward and get vaccinated especially in the districts where adult vaccination rates still lag below 60%.

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