T C Goh
KOTA KINABALU: The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS) has proposed the State Government to also consider introducing a ‘walk-in’ approach, besides the existing arrangement, to boost vaccination rate in the state.
Its President, Tan Sri T C Goh, said the relevant authority should also in collaboration with various civil society organisations (CSOs) boost the ongoing mobile outreach vaccination programme, so that Sabah could achieve herd immunity, as soon as possible.
Goh, who is also a member of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC) and President of the Federation of Sabah and Labuan Hokkien Associations (FSLHA), proposed this while commenting on Sabah Health Department Director Dr Rose Nani Mudin’s lamentation that, despite a dire Covid-19 situation in the state, quite a large number of Sabahans are not willing to be vaccinated.
Goh expressed concern that, if the vaccination rate is low, either due to low registration or due to high absenteeism, it may cause the Federal Government’s effort of ramping up vaccine supply to Sabah to go to waste.
He said following the Federal Government ramping up of vaccine supply to Sabah; and the State Government setting up more vaccine administering centres (PPV) and mobilising more health workers to boost vaccination programme; the relevant authority should work closely with CSOs in the state to better reach the masses.
The authority concerned should also better inform the public about ongoing vaccination programmes via public announcements in various languages, he added.
He noted the latest statistics revealed that as of July 26 some 1.1 million individuals in Sabah have been vaccinated, with 672,199 individuals (17.2%) receiving their first dose of vaccine, and 381.205 individuals or 9.8% of the total population having completed two doses of vaccine.
This indicated that Sabah currently is still the state with the lowest vaccination rate, either one dose or two doses, in the country, he said, adding this was obviously a stark contrast, as compared to Labuan and Sarawak, which have the highest and second highest vaccination rate in the country, respectively.
He thus reiterated that the Federal Government should strive to remedy Sabah’s low vaccination rate, immediately.
He was also delighted with Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor’s recent statement expressing confidence that with the total vaccinations exceeding the targeted 30,000 daily doses for four consecutive days since July 21, Sabah may achieve the target of having 60 percent of its population vaccinated by October.
Nonetheless, Goh maintained that it is crucial that the relevant authority must improve the efficiency of the ongoing vaccination programme, especially to make it more convenient and accessible to the public.
He especially underscored that incidence of high rates of absenteeism such as the recent case of Sandakan, despite having a low vaccination rate of less than 30%, should be prevented, so as to avoid unnecessary wastage of our limited and precious resources.