Doubts linger over Sarawak’s 70% Covid-19 vaccination target by August


By Emma Victoria

ABOUT 2.8% of the adult population, mostly frontliners, have been vaccinated in Sarawak since the state started the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme six weeks ago.

Sarawak Health Department Director Dr Chin Zin Hing when contacted said the progress was based on the doses supplied by the federal government, which arrived in batches.

On whether Sarawak can achieve its ambitious target of vaccinating 70% of its adult population by August and the state’s procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, Dr Chin, however, was unable to comment further.

Although Malaysia has targeted to complete its immunisation programme by February next year, covering 80% of its population of about 32 million people, Sarawak aimed to vaccinate 70% of its adult population by August, which is four months ahead of the national’s target.

The population includes two million Sarawakians and 200,000 non-Sarawakians residing in the state.

However, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during his recent visit to Kuching said it is not easy for Sarawak to get the vaccines due to limited supply.

“Many countries can’t even get it yet, not to mention Sarawak,” he told the reporters after a visit to the Sarawak General Hospital.

Yesterday, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had also said the act of “greed” by certain developed countries which had over purchased Covid-19 vaccines led to a global delivery and supply problem that had also affected Malaysia

“This is because of the global supply chain which is facing problems and challenges and also due to the attitude of developed countries that bought and booked huge numbers of vaccines to the extent that they are able to inoculate each of their residents up to five times more.

“Their greedy attitude is the cause of why developing countries like Malaysia and Australia are facing problems with the vaccine supply at this time,” Khairy said.

However, Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Sim Kui Hian in a Facebook post said he was told that there will be an exponential increase of availability of Covid-19 vaccines in Malaysia, starting June or July. However, he did not elaborate.

On one hand, the federal government said Malaysia is affected due to global delivery and supply problems, but on the other hand Sarawak was informed about an exponential increase of such vaccines in the country.

Even if there is an increase of Covid-19 vaccines made available in Malaysia, will Sarawak receive its fair share or bigger share of the supply? Can it achieve its target to vaccinate 70% of its adult population, covering 2.2 million people in Sarawak?