Covid-19: Vaccination in remote rural areas to be carried out in one go, says Sarawak deputy CM

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas says Sarawak intends to vaccinate all categories of people in rural areas at the same time instead of separating them into phases. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas says Sarawak intends to vaccinate all categories of people in rural areas at the same time instead of separating them into phases. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUCHING, March 13 ― Sarawak intends to vaccinate all categories of people in rural areas at the same time instead of separating them into phases, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He said this is so that health officers mobilised to these remote areas with the vaccines would not have to go over there again and again to administer vaccines according to their categories and phases.

Apart from that, he said, this method would be much more effective in ensuring that most of the communities living in remote places could be vaccinated.

“Detailed planning ought to be done to make sure that the vaccines would be able to reach the far reaches of Sarawak. That is why we have proposed to Kuala Lumpur, in the very interior of Sarawak we may not be able to follow the criteria of people to be vaccinated according to phases.

“For example, if we go to Bario, we will vaccinate everyone there irrespective of their category according to the phases, so that we would not have to make multiple trips there that might cause a lot of complications,” Uggah said during a press conference yesterday.

The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman said Kuala Lumpur has been very receptive to the idea and to Sarawak’s proposal to purchase its own vaccines if needed.

“We are putting across to Kuala Lumpur that if we are given the opportunity we don’t mind buying ourselves the vaccines. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has set aside some funds in case three are issues of acquiring the vaccines due to whatever problem.

“So if we can have access to the vaccines, or a certain amount earlier, this would enable us to meet our requirements,” he said.

Uggah added that SDMC had been briefed by all the Divisional Disaster Management Committees on proposed plans and estimated cost to vaccinate people in the interior.

He said this would be a massive operation, and one of the biggest challenges faced by SDMC would be for the vaccines to reach the folks in the interiors on time.

“We have targeted (Sarawak vaccination programme would be done) by the end of August. But that depends on the availability of the vaccines as well,” he said. ― Borneo Post