By John Isaac
THE first batch of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer received in Sarawak will go to some 90,000 front-liners, said Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
“The vaccines will reach Malaysia by end of February and in March, the vaccinations will begin on about 90,000 front-liners first,” he said during a Facebook live session hosted by Kuching South mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng.
Dr Sim said the next priority to receive the vaccine would be high-risk groups in areas with outbreaks, and this would include the elderly, those with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other pre-existing medical conditions.
According to the Borneo Post, all the high-risk individuals would sum up to about one million, he said, adding another million would be considered the low-risk group.
Dr Sim said the last group to get the vaccination would be low-risk Sarawakians who are not eligible for free vaccines from the federal government.
“For Sarawakians who fit the criteria by the federal government for free vaccines, we’ll let the federal government pay for them.
“For those who are not eligible, the Sarawak government will bear all the costs for the remaining ones,” said Dr Sim, who is also an advisor to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).
He also said reports from State Health Department showed that the entire process would take at least six to nine months due to Sarawak’s large land mass.
On another matter, Dr Sim said SDMC is considering authorising local councils to issue compounds to violators of Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs).
“As of now, only the police are allowed to issue the RM1,000 compounds to violators. We will discuss and then give the authority to all city councils as well,” he said.
He agreed with Wee’s statement of seeking approval from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to take legal action against business premises violating SOPs.
Dr Sim also revealed that his second swab test on Jan 17 at the Batu Kawah health clinic was negative for Covid-19.
He was required to undergo a 14-day stay home order from Jan 8-22 following his first negative Covid-19 swab test after having close contact with a Covid-19 patient on Jan 8.
“I just received my release orders. The first thing that I did after receiving the release order was to go for a haircut,” he added.