KUCHING, June 8: The move to cut bureaucratic red tape and unnecessary barriers for the Covid-19 vaccination, especially among rural folk, with an “inject first and register later” approach has been praised by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing Jemut.
Masing pointed out that if only people registered under the MySejahtera system get to be vaccinated, then the rural population will never get vaccinated in time due to the lack of Internet accessibility.
“Internet is almost non-existent in longhouses and villages in the rural interior of Sarawak.
“Besides, not all people in rural areas have mobile phones. The MySejahtera approach to contain Covid-19 favours the urban population and discriminates against the rural population,” he said in a statement today.
Masing stressed that various regulations and standard operating procedures (SOP) have created unnecessary barriers for vaccine access especially among rural people in the fight against Covid-19 that have resulted in unnecessary loss of lives and loved ones.
Hence, he praised Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari’s suggestion that rural folks who have not registered for Covid-19 vaccinations can walk-in and get their vaccine jabs first before registering their details on-the-spot to be keyed into the database.
“This is the correct way if we want to have all Sarawakians above 18 years of age to be vaccinated within its scheduled time frame which is by August this year.
“What the Chief Minister suggested should have been adopted in Sarawak from the very beginning of Covid-19 vaccination drive.”
Masing was delighted to learn that even Kapit Resident Office staff have taken it upon themselves to bring rural people whose names are still not in the vaccination list to visit the State Health Office to get their vaccine jabs.
“KKM (Ministry of Health) staff were most understanding and gave them the vaccination. It seemed they read the Chief Minister’s mind,” he commended them in heeding Abang Johari’s advice.
Abang Johari had yesterday explained that this flexibility should be adopted so that rural folks do not have to travel far and make multiple trips for their vaccination and at the same time, would expedite the vaccination process particularly in the rural areas.
“Even though this is something beyond normal, it is important for the State government to be flexible considering that there are those who do not know how to register for the vaccination,” he said.
Abang Johari has also tasked all elected representatives to assist their constituents in inoculation matters so that Sarawak can achieve its target of vaccinating 70 per cent of its population by August this year.
With one million doses of Sinovac vaccines scheduled to arrive this month and two million doses of Pfizer within next two months, he emphasised that the Sarawak government will cover the logistic costs so that all Sarawakians can be inoculated. — DayakDaily