Soo on Covid-19 vaccination: Bring vaccines to the people if the people can’t go to the vaccines

Lina Soo

KUCHING, June 1: Set up walk-in vaccination pods or centres and mobilise vaccination vehicles to speed up Sarawak’s Covid-19 vaccination rollout, instead of relying on MySejahtera and following the dictates of the federal government, Aspirasi president Lina Soo urged the State government.

Soo of Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) offered this advice when echoing Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing’s call for accelerated Covid-19 vaccination throughout Sarawak as the health crisis has reached a critical stage in the country.

She also expressed sympathies over the loss of Masing’s brother and sister-in-law due to the virus and was aggrieved to hear that the situation in Kapit has reached breaking point.

“Prioritising vaccination in the fight against Covid-19 is of utmost urgency as it has been proven in many countries to have slowed down the spread of the pandemic and reduced the death toll.

“One in 60 Sarawakians is now Covid-19 positive by comparing the incidence of Covid-19 cases to our small population size. Creating a mega event for mass vaccination only generates crowds with exposure to shared facilities which can become super spreader platforms,” she opined in a statement today.

Now that the federal government has approved for Sarawak to procure its own vaccine supply, Soo questioned why the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) seemed to be dragging its feet in securing enough supply.

Since the vaccines from the federal government will only come in ‘drips and drabs’, she asserted Sarawak must be proactive to secure vaccines which only require storage at refrigerator temperature especially for the rural population so as to speed up the vaccination rollout to achieve maximum vaccination in minimum time.

To boost the rate of vaccination, Soo suggested the setting up of walk-in vaccination pods or centres in shopping malls and community centres where the people may just register on-the-spot and get the jab, instead of only relying upon MySejahtera and urging people to register for vaccination.

“SDMC seems to be out of touch with reality because firstly, the app itself is not functioning effectively and secondly, most of our rural folks, especially the elderly have no smartphones and access to the Internet.

“As done in other countries, mobile vaccination vehicles also go to neighbourhoods where the residents can just roll out to get inoculated.

“For rural communities, vaccination teams can go to the people in the villages or longhouses to carry out the inoculation process. The government must not rely on just the MySejahtera app to manage the vaccination process.

“If Mohammed will not go to the mountain, then bring the mountain to Mohammed,” she emphasised.

Soo added that it would be foolhardy of the Sarawak government to simply follow the dictates of the federal government in the vaccination registration process and risk the lives of its population due to bureaucracy and delay.

“Time is of the essence and our Sarawakian lives are at stake. Sarawak has a small population size, and even though logistics is a challenge, there is no reason for further delay and laggardness.

“Vaccinating only two million people is not a mammoth task as long as the government has the political will,” she stressed. — DayakDaily