KUCHING: Nearly half of Sarawak’s adolescents aged 12 to 17 years have completed their Covid-19 vaccination.
The state Health Department said 121,030 adolescents, or 41% of the 295,174 population in this age group, had received both doses of the vaccine as of Oct 17.
It said 79% of the adolescent population, or 231,803 people, have received their first dose.
“The target is for all adolescents aged 12 to 17 to be fully vaccinated by Oct 31,” the department said in a statement yesterday.
Sarawak began vaccinating 16- and 17-year-olds on Sept 8, along with 12- to 15-year-olds with comorbidities.
Other 12- to 15-year-olds with no comorbidities began receiving the vaccine from Sept 24.
On Sarawak’s vaccination progress, the department said 90.7% of the state’s adult population had received both doses as of Oct 17.
Overall, it said 70.1% of the state’s population had been fully vaccinated.
The department also said 11,156 booster doses had been administered in the state since the booster programme began on Oct 13.
It said senior citizens would be given the booster dose at private clinics and hospitals, while health frontliners would receive theirs at their respective health facilities.
“Those eligible for booster shots can contact the health facilities involved to obtain their appointments.
“The list of participating private clinics and hospitals will be announced through the mass media and social media to facilitate the appointment process,” the department said.
Last week, the department said the booster shots would be given to some 11,900 immunocompromised individuals, 80,300 senior citizens above 60 and 30,340 health frontliners in the state.
Meanwhile, the state disaster management committee will find ways to get the Penans, a minority ethnic group in Ulu Baram, who refused or objected to being vaccinated against Covid-19, to get their jabs soon.
Its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the government would seek the assistance of non-governmental organisations and elected representatives to find ways to persuade them.
“We are now ready with the supply of CanSino vaccine.
“This single dose vaccine is a good option for them and our medical personnel are coming to their areas,” he said in a statement after attending a briefing on Miri division’s Covid-19 booster dose and adolescent vaccination programmes here yesterday.
Miri division health officer Dr Raviwharmman Packierisamy told Uggah that they had tried six different methods to persuade the Penans to be vaccinated.
“We have tried through government officers, elected representatives, influential members of the community, non-government organisations and Borneo Evangelical Malaysia (a religious body) to persuade them (the Penans), but to no avail.
“While they have no issue with normal medical treatment or procedures, they reject the jab outright. They will even disappear into the deep jungle when our vaccination teams arrive.
“This situation remains one of our great challenges in our vaccination rollout,” Dr Raviwharmman said, according to Bernama.
Meanwhile, as this small ethnic group lives scattered in some six different settlements in Ulu Baram, Uggah agreed to a suggestion by Dr Raviwharmman for a voluntary medical team led by doctors from the state Health Department, as well as retired medical personnel from Baram, to visit these settlements.