LABUAN (Bernama): Covid-19 vaccination for school-going children in this duty-free island here is nearing completion, with over 68% having completed the second dose.
Labuan Health Department director Dr Ismuni Bohari said the vaccination exercise for students aged 16 and 17 was completed last week, but over 30% of adolescents aged 12 to 15, have yet to complete inoculation.
"Parents must ensure that their children complete the vaccination as once the vaccine administering centres (PPV) are closed, the vaccination will have to be done via appointment at government or private clinics,” he said.
He said that 86.05% of the total 10,094 students (aged 12-17) have received at least one dose of vaccine, and of the number, 68.25% completed the second dose as of Oct 16.
Meanwhile, in an engagement programme organised by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in collaboration with the Information Department and the media fraternity today, pupils aged 12 started to receive the second dose at SK Sungai Lada PPV here.
In anticipation of receiving the vaccine, parents and pupils were quick to express their excitement and appreciation for being prioritised by the Federal Government (for the vaccination exercise).
Bohasney Borhanordin, 42, a civil servant, said the vaccination exercise would help ensure a safe learning environment.
"My 12-year-old son is excited to return to school after being restricted from going out for the past months...my son received his first jab last week,” he said on Sunday (Oct 17).
Jamilah Abdul Majid, 41, also a civil servant, said the Federal Government through MOE had played a proactive role in ensuring pupils and students are fully-vaccinated before reopening of schools.
"For those whose families have hesitation about getting the vaccine, they must think of other students' safety, but I believe that once they see the majority of people getting it, they will feel encouraged to get vaccinated as well.
"I think that the roll-out of the vaccine at this time is perfect as the schools are reopening, and I’m sure pupils (after completing the vaccine) can return to school safely,” she said.
Jamilah’s son, Muhammad Abd Aziz, 12, a pupil of SK Sungai Lada, expressed excitement after completing his immunisation today.
"I feel so happy to be able to complete the vaccine (doses) today, and I’m so impatient to see my schoolmates and teachers, and I want to come back to studying mode after a long break,” he said.
Christina Lee Abdullah, 46, said the vaccination exercise should be made compulsory to ensure schools are a safe place for learning.
"We cannot afford to have another cluster from a student or teacher, who is reluctant to get the shots, and this is unfair to other students and parents,” she said.
"Over the past nine months, students have told us about spending too much time on screen, struggling with their mental health, exercising their creativity in quarantine, maintaining socially-distant friendships, unsure whether or not they have experienced ‘learning loss’, and this vaccine will speed up my daughter's return to school,” she said.
Her daughter, Andrey Lee Abdullah,12, said she could not wait to get the second dose after getting the first shot last week.
Another civil servant, Noorlihan Abdul Alip, 40, a mother whose children got vaccinated today felt assured as the vaccination roll-out for school students is nearing completion.
"I have six children with three of them fully-vaccinated leaving three, aged below 12, yet to be vaccinated...I must thank the MOE for putting in the list of pupils in Year 6 for the vaccination programme,” she said.
Her son, Muhammad Zhafiy Izzfan Rafizal, 12, from SK Sungai Lada, expressed gladness for being able to turn up early at the PPV for his second dose.
"I will be getting the second dose any minute now, and I’m really excited. I have so many friends who are eager to get theirs, as well.
"The vaccine opens up a lot of possibilities for those my age, from school activities to birthday parties, and it will be ‘cool’ to get back to those things, especially after almost a year of missing important milestones,” he said. - Bernama