Chong: Slow Covid-19 vaccination rate frustrates Sarawakians

Chong Chieng Jen

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

KUCHING, June 2: The government must realise that the current pace of vaccination is far too slow.  

Democratic Action Party Sarawak chief Chong Chieng Jen said the rate of vaccination in Malaysia, including Sarawak, is most frustrating.

“When we are reading reports that things are moving back to normal in countries like UK and US where vaccination programmes are successfully rolled out, we, in Sarawak and Malaysia, are now going south, from bad to worse and having lockdowns and MCOs and higher infection cases and death from Covid-19.  

“For any right-thinking Malaysian or Sarawakian, this is most frustrating.

“Therefore, unless some drastic and more effective action is taken, at the current rate of vaccination, we will not be able to hit the target of herd immunity even by end of this year and we will probably be stuck with these MCOs, RMCOs or FMCOs for another few months,” said Chong in a press statement today.

He called on the government to announce the detailed plan to expedite the vaccination programme rather than plucking a figure of 50,000 doses per day without any supporting plan to achieve that figure.  

“It is only with the full knowledge of the government’s plan that the people can give full cooperation and support to make the vaccination programme a success within the shortest possible time,” said Chong who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman.

He believed that the Sarawak government should now set in motion the plan to engage private clinics and hospitals to take a more active part in administering the Covid-19 vaccine.

So far, after three months of the State’s vaccination programme which began on Feb 27, 2021, only 194,936 people have received at least the first dose and 111,176 have received their second dose of the vaccines.

For the month of May, the total number of doses administered was 155,602, averaging 5,000 doses administered per day, with the except of a single-day maximum of 14,302 doses administered on 29/5/2021.

“Even if that maximum single-day doses of 14,302 is to be taken as the present capacity of the vaccination team state-wide, in order to achieve the 50,000 doses administered per day target claimed by (Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Prof) Dr Sim Kui Hian, the State government will have to provide another three times the present teams and venues for vaccination.  Is the State government ready for that?”

Chong who is also Stampin MP also pointed out that as at June 1, 2021, 1,239,586 Sarawakians have registered for the vaccination, out of which only 194,936 have received at least their first dose.  Many who have registered since February this year are still waiting for their vaccination.  

“Therefore, it is most unwarranted for Dr Sim to complain that people are not keen to register when more than 80 per cent of those who have registered are still waiting in vain for the government to give them the appointment dates for vaccination.”

Given the recent announcement by Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin that there will be 380,000 doses of vaccine to be supplied to Sarawak per week, Chong said the Sarawak government has the duty to inform Sarawakians of the followings:

1. When will these batches of 380,000 per week doses start arriving in Sarawak?

2. What will be the targeted number of vaccinations for each and every Pusat Pemberian Vasin (PPV) in Sarawak be once the vaccines have arrived?

3. How many private clinics in Sarawak will be doing the vaccination?  Who are these private clinics?  How many doses will each of these clinics do a day? 

4. What other measures will be taken by the government to achieve the new vaccinate rate of 50,000 per day which is 10 times faster than the rate we are doing in May?  — DayakDaily