Thursday, August 5

Increase dose supply, let clinics help in inoculation – Shareda

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Chua Soon Ping

KOTA KINABALU: The government must act fast in handling the Covid-19 infections before it gets out of hand, said Sabah Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Shareda).

Its president, Datuk Chua Soon Ping, said infection figures in Sabah had now hit 657 cases on Tuesday, fearing it had now reached the same numbers in the post-election spike in October last year.

“It is predicted Covid cases in Sabah could potentially break 1,200 cases per day in two weeks’ time based on the Susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) prediction model if no swift action is taken to contain infections.

This is a fight against time, due to multiple strains of variant, we must race ahead of the spread of the virus,” he said in a statement here on Wednesday.

In improving the vaccination work, Chua proposed a fast and effective inoculation via decentralisation, adding that the state should aim to vaccinate 60,000 people per day or one million people per month.

“As the supply of vaccines from the federal government has not been consistent, it is time for the Sabah state government to take up the responsibility and import its own vaccines. There are several brands of vaccine already available in the market, the Sabah State Government should consider importing its own vaccine such as Sinovac or Sinopharm instead of waiting passively for supply from the federal government,” he said.

Chua said clinics should also be allowed to administer the vaccines so the public can walk-in and pay to get jabbed.

He said the health authorities can expedite and also expand its reach to the people in various places in Sabah by allowing clinics to administer the vaccines.

“The decentralisation of vaccination centres will also reduce the risk of mass infection as seen in inoculation centres recently,” said Chua, referring to some 453 workers found infected at a vaccination centre in Shah Alam, Selangor last week.

In praising the work done by NGOs and the government to roll out vaccinations via public-private partnership programmes like PIKAS and CIVAC, Chua said allowing clinics to help in the immunisation can effectively bring the cost of inoculation down for the government.

“There will be no additional venue costs incurred if the clinics are included in the immunisation programme,” said Chua as he proposed a fee of RM70 for the entire course of vaccination (two doses).

On the same note, Chua also said mass vaccination would help Sabah achieve herd immunity much faster as he drew comparison on the inoculation progress in Sabah with Sarawak.

Chua said Sabah is now far behind from the neighbouring state in terms of inoculation, with Sabah hitting 12.2% of its population while Sarawak was already 54.9% (as of July 21).

“England has just opened up their economy completely after achieving herd immunity. Despite the fact that their daily infection rate is still high, the fatality rate has dropped significantly due to the vaccinations.

“As such, they have embraced the virus and moved on with their lives. The impact of Covid-19 through infection and fatality can be significantly minimised if we achieve herd immunity, as seen in the case in the United Kingdom (UK), where they once had the highest Covid infections and deaths in the world,” he said.

Chua added stricter border control should also be done to contain imported Covid-19 variants and also variants of concern infections.

He said Brunei had reported zero local transmission over the last 430 days but much of their cases involved non-locals getting into the country.

Brunei is sandwiched between Sabah and Sarawak where both states are still suffering from high infection rates.

“Most of our cases including the strains of variants were imported, as such having a strict border control can effectively contain the spread,” he said.