Uggah: Sarawak to come up with own system after people uncontactable for vaccine shots

Uggah (in white shirt) and Dr Sim (in yellow shirt) greeting an elderly man waiting for his turn to be given the Covid-19 vaccine.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, April 23: Over 80 participants in Kapit eligible for Covid-19 vaccine shots were uncontactable to confirm their appointments while 72 participants in Sibu did not turn up for their shots for the second phase of vaccination programme which was rolled out on April 19.

As such, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas pointed out that Sarawak intends to come up with its own system to suit the complicated and unique situations in the State in efforts to ensure that those living in the rural interior will not be left out from the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“A press statement from Kapit (Resident Office) reported that they faced problems in identifying more than 80 recipients (for Covid-19 vaccination) and in Sibu, 72 people did not turn up (for their shots) and (were) uncontactable.

“We encountered a number of problems (for the vaccination programme) as some people especially the elderly do not check their MySejahtera and did not know (appointments have been scheduled for their vaccine shots),” he told a press conference after visiting the Indoor Stadium vaccination centre in Petra Jaya here today.

Other more critical issues discovered, Uggah explained include the locality of the participants which may not be the same as in the registered address on their identity cards and those without smartphones or registered phone numbers to be contacted.

“As many as 600,000 people have registered manually (through District or Resident or Health Offices). But the data must be keyed into MySejahtera.

“One of the problems faced is that some participants do not have a registered mobile number so it will be rejected by MySejahtera app system,” he said.

However, Uggah emphasised that Federal Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin had agreed with Sarawak’s proposal for these registrations to use the Resident Offices’ phone numbers.

“The State Health Department has also agreed that when the list of confirmed recipients have been received (by them) early, the list can be extended to Tuan Resident and Resident Officers who will be tasked to contact the recipients especially in the rural areas (on their appointments),” he said.

As vaccination registration is mainly based on MySejahtera app, he added: “We will comply as much with MySejahtera list but at the same time we hope they can accept the registrations done manually due to our unique situation especially to reach out to people in the interior like the Penan community with many having no telephone numbers.”

Uggah, who is also State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman, pointed out that the Sarawak government will make the proposal to Putrajaya to set up its own system after assessing the glitches in the second phase vaccination rollout.

“So the government will recommend to Putrajaya for Sarawak to come up with our own-kind-of system because the situation in Sarawak is more complicated. So we want to create a system to suit our conditions.

“The issues will become more serious for the rural interior population particularly due to poor network coverage, apart from logistical challenges. We want to avoid all these so that all eligible recipients will receive their shots,” he said.

Uggah (in white shirt) and Dr Sim (in yellow shirt) visiting the Indoor Stadium vaccination centre in Petra Jaya, Kuching.

Meanwhile, the second phase vaccination programme targeting senior citizens, disabled people and those in the high-risk groups has kicked off for Kuching, Serian Sri Aman, Betong, Kapit, Mukah and Miri divisions today.

This will be followed by Samarahan, Bintulu and Limbang divisions tomorrow (April 24) and Sarikei division on April 30.

Since the start of the second phase on April 19 for Sibu division, a total of 13 vaccination centres have been opened.

Under the second phase, an estimated 929,435 people are expected to receive the shots.

Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian and State Health director Dr Chin Zin Hing were present. — DayakDaily