KUCHING (Feb 24): It is important to get 100 per cent of people above 18 years old vaccinated in the state in order to get herd immunity against Covid-19, said Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian.
“If we don’t vaccinate 70 per cent (of the population) then we don’t get enough herd immunity or protection for the community.
“Sarawak has about 30 per cent of people (who are) less than 18-years-old. If you take that into consideration, that means almost 100 per cent of people above 18-years-old need to get vaccinated,” he said in the ‘Covid-19 Vaccination and The Impact on Sarawak Business’ webinar organised by Sarawak Business Federation (SBF) today.
Dr Sim, who is also Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor, noted that the pandemic has been going on for nearly a year in the state since the first cases were diagnosed in March last year.
However, he cautioned that the state is currently at its “most dangerous period”, with more than 6,000 diagnosed positive in the first two months and more people who have died so far than the whole of last year.
“If we can survive, stay alive and get vaccinated by August, we can prevent more deaths. Let us put more effort into getting vaccinated. Let us organise ourselves and get vaccination going and get 70 per cent of the population vaccinated.
“Only then we can talk about going back to our normal lives,” he said.
Dr Sim said that with the state about to roll out one of its biggest operations that it ever had, which is to vaccinate 2.2 million people in Sarawak by August, an ambitious programme which will be launched by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on Friday.
“Those 2.2 million people need to be vaccinated twice, that means vaccinating 4.4 million times. That is a lot of work.
“Which is why we need people’s understanding. We need to make sure people accept it. We need all of them to play their part,” he said.
The webinar featured a specially curated panel of speakers from the government, medical, business and tourism professions, moderated by SBF deputy president Datuk Philip Ting.
Other panelists include Sarawak Bumiputera Entrepreneur Chambers chairman Datu Abang Helmi Ikhwan, Economic Planning Unit Sarawak director Prof Dr Muhammad Abdullah Zaidel, Sarawak Tourism Federation president Audrey Wan Ullok, and Borneo Medical Centre chairman Dr John Chew.
Among some of the issues discussed were how businesses such as tourism shall continue in Sarawak after everyone has been vaccinated, the various assistances that are being given to the business sector, and other possible solutions to get the economy going again.