Tuesday, September 27

CM: Sarawak to provide logistics support for PICKids in interior, rural areas

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(back row, from left) Abang Johari , Dr Sim and Uggah give the thumbs-up together with young children who were vaccinated against Covid-19 at Kota Sentosa health clinic today. – Penerangan photo

KUCHING (Feb 12): The state government will provide logistic assistance to vaccinate children aged five to 11 against Covid-19 in the rural and interior areas, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the state government has targeted to have 50 per cent of the eligible children population to receive their first dose of the vaccine by the end of February.

“As some places are located deep in the interior, the state government will ready the logistics support — maybe by using helicopters, boats or land transport to bring doctors to vaccinate the children there,” he said during a visit to the Kota Sentosa health clinic to monitor the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Kids (PICKids) today.

Abang Johari (centre) monitoring the PICKids programme at Kota Sentosa health clinic today. – Photo by Chimon Upon

He shared with the press that 308 school children from SJK(C) Chung Hua Stampin and SJK(C) Chung Hua Pangkalan Baru would be receiving their vaccine at the clinic today.

Abang Johari stressed it was important to vaccinate young children against the coronavirus, as they mingle with adults and are exposed to the risk of becoming a source of Covid-19 infection themselves if left unvaccinated.

“In the rural areas, we will work closely with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education in vaccinating young children. If not during school hours, we will utilise other methods and the approach is similar to how we vaccinated adults previously.”

A parent waits as her daughter receives the Covid-19 vaccination. – Photo by Chimon Upon

Once the immunisation programme for children is complete, he hoped children can go back to school to have face-to-face education and ensure their learning process is uninterrupted.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari said that 1,876,435 individuals aged 18 and above, or 91.9 per cent of the adult population, in Sarawak had completed two doses of the vaccination as of Feb 10.

As for individuals aged between 12 and 17, some 260,028 of them, or 88.7 per cent of the age group, had also received two doses of the vaccination.

Abang Johari said 2,136,463 individuals or 75.9 per cent of the state’s total population had received their two doses of vaccination.

“As for booster shots, we have achieved a coverage of about 84.5 per cent from those eligible,” he added.

He noted the public’s response towards the state’s Covid-19 vaccination drive had been very encouraging, and the spread of the dominant Omicron variant must be curbed via vaccination.

It was learnt in a press statement shared with the press later that a total of 19,430 (6.8 per cent) out of from 286,000 children aged between five to 11 had been vaccinated under PICKids as of Feb 3.

Parents accompany their children to be vaccinated at Kota Sentosa health clinic today. – Photo by Chimon Upon

A survey conducted by the state Health Department also concluded that 60.3 per cent of 41,350 parents interviewed had strongly agreed with vaccinating their children against Covid-19 while another 14.5 per cent chose not to allow their children to be vaccinated.

Abang Johari expressed his hopes that parents still reluctant to have their children vaccinated would reconsider their decision, so that their children’s learning journey would not be unnecessarily interrupted due to the possibility of them not being allowed to attend classes in school.

Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian accompanied Abang Johari during the visit.