Saturday, July 24

S’wak might not hit 80 per cent target by end of August at current pace, says Chong


Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING (June 9): Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen is worried that state might not hit the 80 per cent vaccinated population target by end of August.

He said in a statement today that there has been no marked increase in Covid-19 vaccination rate in the state, while questioning the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government’s seriousness in expediting the vaccination process.

Chong said based on the figures released by the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) in its Facebook page, the state had administered 305,706 vaccine doses on May 31 compared to 380,864 doses on June 8.

“This is an average of 10,736 vaccine doses administered per day, with the maximum number of doses administered per day standing at 14,781 on June 7, and the number of doses administered in Sarawak dropped to 12,317 the next day.

“This, despite the setting up of the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) as an additional Pusat Pemberian Vaksin (PPV) to administer AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine,” said Chong.

He pointed out that in April, Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian boasted that the state government has capacity to vaccinate 50,000 doses per day and blame it on the lack of vaccine supply on the slowness of the vaccination rate.

“On May 28, (Coordinating Minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme) Khairy (Jamaluddin) came to Sarawak and announced that Sarawak will be getting 380,000 doses pe week from the federal government starting June and that there is no need for the state government to purchase additional vaccine doses.”

“Yet, now that first week of June has passed, yet there is still no marked increase in the rate of vaccination in Sarawak.”

“The GPS government should know that every day’s delay in the administration of the vaccines will cause unnecessary lives to be lost, prolong the agony of the front-liners and greater economic losses to the State and the people,” he said.

He said that to the people, there is nothing more urgent than an effective and efficient roll out of the vaccines.

At the same time, Chong, who is Kota Sentosa assemblyman and Stampin MP, proposed that the people be allowed the ‘vaccinate first, register and update later’ process by cutting bureaucracy and allow private general practitioners to administer the vaccination.

“Give the GPs few hundred of doses each at one time and allow public to drop by the GPs’ clinics for vaccination without having to wait for the MySejahtera Apps to allocate the appointment which is taking ages,” he said.

Apart from that, he said, the government could set up 100 mobile teams to go around housing estates throughout Sarawak and use the Community Halls or even schools in the vicinities as temporary PPV to administer the vaccination.

Similarly, he pointed out that he received two complaints from the public their appointments for vaccination scheduled yesterday at Timberland Medical Centres were postponed with last-minute notice by the MySejahtera Apps when they turned out at the Hospital. And they were not allowed to receive the vaccine.

Notwithstanding Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian’s claim that Sarawakians were reluctant to register for vaccination, Chong said the reality was that hundreds of thousands who have registered for the vaccine, some as early as February this year, were still waiting for their appointments to get the jab, he lamented.