KUCHING: The Sarawak government is urged to reveal the progress and details of the state’s procurement of Covid-19 vaccines in ensuring all Sarawakians or at least 70 per cent of them are vaccinated by August this year.
Speaking at the Facebook Live session of the Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) Southern Zone Taskforce yesterday, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How described the national vaccination as ‘too little too slow’.
“As at March 25, 536,681 doses of the Covid-19 vaccines had been administered, at a going rate of about 18,723 doses being administered per day in the last week.
“At present, only 443,124 (1.34 per cent) of the population have received their first dose, and only 93,557 (0.28 per cent) Malaysians have received their second dose,” he said, citing infographic information by The Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV).
The infographic was also shared by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba in his Twitter on Friday.
At this rate, See said, Malaysia is lagging far behind other countries such as Israel, United Kingdom, Chile, United States and Singapore – as he said 57.5 per cent of Israel’s population have received their first doses with vaccination rate of 60,471 doses per day in the last week; United Kingdom (43 per cent of population received first dose, vaccination at 554,271 doses per day), Chile (33 per cent of population with first dose, vaccination at 246,292 doses per day), United States (26 per cent of population received first dose, vaccination at 2.45 million doses per day), Singapore (14 per cent of population received first dose, vaccination at 35,566 doses per day).
He then called on the federal and the state governments to accelerate the vaccination of Malaysians particularly Sarawakians as, at the current pace, Malaysians can only be vaccinated with the two doses after nine years.
“The federal Health Minister had projected that we are to administer 126,000 doses of vaccines per day. That is more than six times our ongoing rate.
“There is all the more reason for the government to engage private hospitals and clinics to assist in the vaccination process. However, we must also look at the promptness of the arrival of the vaccines, “ he added.
Quoting further infographic information from JKJAV, he said, as at February the government had secured 66.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAC Facility and advance purchases from five vaccine manufacturers – with 32 million doses from Pfizer, AstraZeneca (12.8 million doses), Sinovac (12 million doses), CanSinoBIO (3.5 million doses) and Sputnik V (6.4 million doses).
Although he said the 66.7 million doses of vaccines are more than sufficient to vaccinate all Malaysians, he questioned when the vaccines will arrive in the country.
Citing the vaccines from Pfizer, he said only up to 12.8 million doses or 40 per cent of those purchased are expected to be supplied to Malaysia this year.
“Earlier, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had disclosed the break-down of the supply of 12.8 million doses of Pfizer vaccines for Malaysia – 1 million doses in the first quarter; 1.7 million doses in the second quarter; 5.8 million doses in third quarter and 4.3 million doses in fourth quarter.
“And it appears that the projection of having the supply of 12.8 million doses of the Pfizer vaccines might not be met. The government has estimated that 1 million doses will be supplied to us in this first quarter, but only 650,000 doses were actually received,” he added.
With the progress of the national vaccination exercise ‘too little too slow’, See said he fully supported the Sarawak government’s initiative to procure the vaccines itself to ensure that all or at least 70 per cent of Sarawakians will be vaccinated by August.
“We need to speed up the drive to immunise Sarawakians to break the chain of the pandemic, to protect the health and safety of all Sarawakians and to achieve our state economic recovery targets.
“With the federal government having given us the green light, we must act on the good initiative to complement the national vaccination effort, such that all Sarawakians are the target priority.
“Hopefully, the state government and particularly the SDMC will reveal to all Sarawakians the progress of our procurement of the vaccines and the roadmap to vaccinate all or at least 70 per cent of Sarawakians in 4 months’ time,” he said.