Dr Sim: Only 2,000 eligible recipients in S’wak have gotten second booster

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Dr Sim speaks to the press after the lighting ceremony. Also seen from left are Wee, Richard, and Sarawak Buddhist Association president Dato Sri Dr Tay Chin Kin. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (May 10): Only around 2,000 or 0.625 per cent of those eligible in Sarawak for a second Covid-19 booster dose have gotten the shot, revealed Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

The Minister of Public Health, Local Government and Housing said there are actually over 320,000 eligible recipients for the second booster dose in the state.

“With the festive season happening now, I want as many people as possible to celebrate the festivals safely by getting another booster shot.

“One of the reasons for Sarawak to manage the pandemic well is our high vaccination rate and our people having high antibodies,” he said last night after lighting the White Cat statue near Padungan roundabout to mark Wesak Day.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) announced last month that second Covid-19 booster shots for are available for senior citizens aged 60 and above who had their booster shots four to six months earlier, those with comorbidities, travellers, as well as moderate or severely immunocompromised adolescents.

Dr Sim said Sarawak has already achieved the highest vaccination rate among children aged five to 11 under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids) in the country.

He also reminded parents to ensure their children complete the two-dose vaccination.

“So far there has been no adverse event among the children after vaccination. We all know that we have to live with the virus but we also want some form of protection to act as an immunity against the virus,” he said.

He pointed out paediatricians in Sarawak are currently on high alert after an unknown origin of hepatitis was reported among children globally, however added data had so far indicated the disease had yet to reach Sarawak.

Dr Sim also said the state government is monitoring the Covid-19 situation a week after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.

While welcoming the low figure of 256 new Covid-19 cases reported in the most recent week, he pointed out the actual number could be higher as the public may be taking their own initiative to self-test and self-isolate, without reporting to the MySejahtera app.

On the Wesak Day celebration, Dr Sim said standard operating procedures (SOPs) would be released soon, but pointed out that there would most likely not be any procession again this year.

He also thanked the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) for allocating funds to decorate the White Cat statue for this year’s celebration.

Kuching South mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng, who was present during the lighting ceremony, remarked Wesak Day is the holiest day for Buddhists – signifying the birth and enlightenment of Buddha.

“I think it is good for the general public as a whole to understand our religions and culture so that a harmonious society can continue on, as some people might not understand the meaning of Wesak Day,” said Wee.

Unifor director Richard Lon added deputy premiers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Dr Sim would be attending a Wesak Day celebration on Sunday (May 15).