Teachers may be vaccinated, but what about our children? asks Assemblywoman

Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong

By John Isaac

A DAP assemblywoman today said though close to 98% teachers, assistant teachers and caregivers of pre-schools and childcare are fully vaccinated, none of the children concerned have been vaccinated.

Pending assemblywoman, Violet Yong said all these children were those under the age of 12 and no parent was willing to take the risk.

“Recently our Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development, Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah claimed Sarawak is close to achieving 100 per cent Covid-19 vaccination for 10,133 teachers, assistant teachers and registered pre-school caregivers in Sarawak.

“How can our respected state minister be so blatant to give false confidence to parents that it’s safe when only the teachers, caregivers and staff of the pre-schools and childcare are vaccinated?,” she questioned.

She reminded the Minister that little ones below 12-years of age were not vaccinated and would be in great danger if teachers and caregivers are asymptomatic.

“Please be honest with the parents about the risks they are exposing their young children to especially when they are between three to six-years-old!”

The press release by the Minister concerned in my view was just a publicity stunt to show how well Sarawak GPS had done in vaccinating our pre-school teachers and childcare caregivers which in fact is still not safe for our young children to attend pre-schools and childcare.

“I would like to appeal to our state ministers to avoid all publicity stunts during this pandemic and truly focus on the well-being of our beloved Sarawakians.

“The GPS Government should focus on improved SOPs that can be carried out in the pre-schools and childcares so the younger generation can flourish in a safer environment,” she stressed.

To reduce the risk of infection among our children, she suggested the Sarawak GPS government allocate some financial assistance to help pre-school and childcare operators, particularly to improve the ventilation system at schools to reduce the risk of infection among our young children placed there.

The ventilation system is important because it is contrary to the stagnant conditions and reduces the risk of the contagion saturation reaching the point that is infectious.

“I am sure all pre-school and childcare operators are diligently doing all they can to make their premises safe for the children.

“But please understand that these operators had been through a tough time throughout the pandemic due to the extended lockdowns and are just trying to support our efforts to revive the state economy.

“In addition, the state government should help our B40 parents to provide face masks and shields for these little ones as a secondary protection from the Covid-19 infection,”

It may seem trivial to many, but for a B40 family to be providing face masks for their children daily is going to eat into their already fragile family budget.

Failing to take these two basic steps will risk higher infections among young children attending pre-school education and childcare.

Other than the above, Violet said the government should also seriously revise the outdated SOPs that will reduce the transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

As the Delta variant is more contagious, we should propose new ways to curb infections.

Sarawak GPS Government should be well aware that Sarawak is very far from the Peninsular Malaysia, and we are quite different here.

We must develop a set of SOPs that caters to our communities locally to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“What worries me the most is that the government still continues to stick to the previous outdated SOPs saying that they are waiting for the Health Ministry to revise it.

“Body temperature scans are no longer effective as most Sarawakians had been vaccinated and most will be asymptomatic even if they are infected but can still infect our young children!

“These infected young children will then bring the contagion home and infect their siblings and parents,” added Violet.