Sarawak govt approves RM30m allocation to distribute Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the state
Sarawak aims to vaccinate at least 2 million Sarawakians and 200,000 non-Sarawakians over a period of seven months. — Reuters pic

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KUCHING, Feb 27 — The state government has approved an allocation of RM30 million for the delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and to prepare vaccination facilities throughout the state, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said the state government aims to vaccinate at least 2 million Sarawakians and 200,000 non-Sarawakians, which was about 70 per cent of the state’s population, over a period of seven months from February to be able to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.

“Because Sarawak is a very big state, the logistical cost of delivering the vaccines to the rural areas here is very high. So the state government has approved a RM30 million allocation to provide facilities and to deliver the vaccines to the rural areas.

“This is so that almost all Sarawakians including those in the rural areas will get their vaccines,” he said.

Abang Johari was speaking at a press conference after officiating at the Sarawak Covid-19 Vaccination Programme Phase I for frontliners at the Stadium Perpaduan, Petra Jaya near here today.

He said the vaccines would be sent to 54 designated locations state-wide where the vaccination would be administered.

“The execution of this programme is a very difficult exercise as it requires extensive planning, and a lot of manpower and logistics given the big size of the state.

“But I am confident that our State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and his highly dedicated team will be able to implement it with success,” he said.

Abang Johari said a total of 97,161 Sarawak frontliners were expected to receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine during the first phase of the programme which began yesterday (Feb 26) till March 31.

For the second phase, he said a total of 956,435 recipients consisting of the elderly or high risk groups will be receiving their shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine throughout April and May.

The third phase will resume from May till August, covering 999,834 recipients consisting of eligible individuals ages 18 and above, he added.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari related his experience of being among the first to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine yesterday (Feb 26) together with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian, Sarawak Health Director Dr Chin Zin Hing and several healthcare workers at the Petra Jaya Health Clinic.

“Yesterday I received my first dose of the vaccine at the Petra Jaya Health Clinic together with Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Dr Sim, Dr Chin and several healthcare workers.

“After that first dose, my presence here proved that the vaccine is safe for those with no health issues. I feel no side effects. In fact, I feel a lot healthier today.

“I will be receiving my second dose on March 19,” he said.

On that note, he urged Sarawakians not to be afraid to come forward and be vaccinated, because the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for use in Malaysia by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

Those who have yet to register to be vaccinated for free can do so through their MySejahtera app on their smartphones, or go to the nearest district offices, government health facilities or their respective Tuai Rumah, Ketua Kampung or Kapitan in their respective area, he said. — Borneo Post Online