Kota Kinabalu: The state government decided on Wednesday to allow Malaysians and eligible foreigners to receive their walk-in vaccines at all vaccination centers (VVPs) in Sabah. Additionally, Sabah Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the state is expected to receive 1.5 million doses of the vaccine in August, an additional 400,000 doses from what was initially announced last June. “This supply (for the month of August) started last week,” he said Wednesday, adding that the vaccine supply in Sabah is currently sufficient.
He said only 18.4 percent of Sabah’s adult population had been fully immunized while 42 percent had received their first dose by August 10. However, the vaccination rate differs from district to district. âFor example, in Beaufort, 50.7% of its residents have completed both doses. There are several districts where their inoculation rate is less than 12%. “The state cabinet has asked the secretary of state for Sabah to investigate the causes of this slow progress and take immediate action to improve it,” he said. As part of efforts to increase Sabah’s vaccination rate, the state government would also require government-related enterprises (GLCs) to use a portion of their business profits to purchase vaccines for their employees. The move is a contingency against a possible vaccine shortage for the state. âAccording to reliable sources, the supply of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may experience production disruptions that will impact the countries that use it. Malaysia would be no exception to the effects of this disruption. âThe state government, through the GLCs, is ready to purchase the vaccine in the event of a shortage, to ensure that all residents can get immunized immediately. âThe vaccine purchase expenses will be deducted from the amount of annual dividends normally paid by the GLC to the state government each year,â Masidi said.
He added that any remaining stock of vaccines purchased by the GLCs would be donated to the rest of the rakyat. âThis initiative will strengthen the immunization program and speed up the delivery of vaccines to residents of Sabah,â Masidi said. Masidi said the state government has also asked all chairs of Covid-19 Vaccination Working Groups (CITFs) across Sabah to mobilize vaccination movements to meet the set daily vaccination quota. âThis is important so that Sabah’s overall immunization rate is not affected by districts that have not met their daily immunization goals,â he explained. Regarding Sabah’s Covid-19 vaccination program, Masidi said 34,564 people in phase two received their first dose, bringing the tally to 1,115,944 while 7,383 received their second dose, bringing the tally to 437,736. Some 16,181 registered for the vaccine on Wednesday, bringing the total number of registrants to 1,317,878, for a registration rate of 47.8%. Masidi said private companies, especially large plantation companies, are also strongly encouraged to purchase vaccines for their employees as part of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, so that they don’t not to wait for free government vaccines. âWe know that 80 percent of agricultural workers are foreigners. Such CSR programs will help speed up vaccination for the entire adult population of Sabah, regardless of nationality. âThe state government is ready to consider allowing large plantations to operate at 100% capacity if all employees, including their families, have been fully immunized,â he said. The government company Qhazanah Sabah Sdn Bhd has been appointed by Pharmaniaga Bhd as the sales representative of Sinovac vaccines in Sabah. âSinovac’s production capacity at the Pharmaniaga plant in Kuala Lumpur is 4 million doses per month. Pharmaniaga has a vaccine storage facility in Kota Kinabalu. âCompanies wishing to purchase their own vaccines for their employees can contact Qhazanah Sabah directly in Kota Kinabalu,â he said. Masidi clarified that the state government still provides the vaccine for free to all Sabahans, but the proposal for large companies to purchase vaccines for their employees is to speed up efforts to achieve collective immunity.