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KUCHING, Feb 18: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak has urged the Sarawak government to include senior citizens especially those in nursing homes in the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination programme scheduled to roll out starting Feb 27 as they are the most vulnerable group.
Julian Tan, the special assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen, pointed out the need to prioritise vaccination for the elderly after 31 residents of two nursing homes in Sibu had been infected recently and a 73-year-old resident was among the fatalities in Sarawak.
“They are often the most susceptible to more severe symptoms and possible death due to their age and other underlying conditions.
“In Canada, for example, 80 per cent of all Covid-19 related deaths occurred at elderly care centres. Similarly, for the United States and the United Kingdom, deaths involving elderly were between 30 to 40 per cent,” he said in a statement today.
Tan shared that an estimated 40,000 Malaysians above the age of 65 were staying in elderly care centres or nursing homes which have an estimated total workforce of about 8,000.
Looking at the number and considering the unequivocally extreme vulnerability of this group of people, he stressed that the government should prioritise them in the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Of the 1,500 nursing homes throughout the country, he claimed that only 350 were registered.
Meanwhile, the National Covid-19 Immunisation programme will be rolled out on Feb 26 as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is scheduled to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) coming Sunday (Feb 21), after which they would be sorted and dispatched to the various specialised storage facilities across the country.
Sarawak is expecting to receive the first batch of the vaccine on Feb 22 with the first phase of the vaccination programme scheduled to kick off on Feb 27 until April 1 involving some 97,000 frontliners including medical and healthcare staff, police, army, civil defence personnel and so on.
The second and third phases will follow from the end of March until August 2020 involving 929,000 individuals from the high-risk groups first while 992,000 healthy adults aged 18 years and above would receive theirs in the last.- DayakDaily