Cover Story, Current Affairs, National

Covid-19 vaccine: GPS Sarawak needs to address slow rollout in the state

 

Why is the Sarawak GPS Government more focused on mega projects and State Elections propaganda than the Covid1-19 vaccine rollout?

 

Over the month of March, Sarawak’s new Covid-19 infection cases have been within the top 3 highest in Malaysia. Couple that with the fact that only 28.57% of the state’s population of 591,921 have registered for the vaccine as of 29 March, Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak has recently voiced out their concerns about the ability for the state to achieve herd immunity.

In a press statement released on 3 April 2021, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Stampin, Chong Chieng Jen questions the GPS State Government’s current priority which seems to be more focused on mega projects and campaigning for the State Elections rather than dealing with the pandemic. The Sarawak PH leader stressed,

 

“Focus of the State Government in the next 6 months should be on the roll-out of the vaccination program rather than mega projects and State Elections propaganda.”

 

Chong, who is also the state’s PH chairman also expressed his concerns on the low vaccine acceptance and registration level, as well as the high new Covid-19 cases in Sarawak. Since the start of the vaccination programme in Sarawak on 27 February 2021, only 48,078 people have received their first vaccination dose. Out of the number, only 25,287 have been inoculated with the full two doses.

 
MP for Stampin, Chong Chieng Jen.
 

Hence, in order to deal with this imperative issue, Sarawak PH proposes 5 different initiatives aimed at a more efficient Covid-19 vaccine rollout. These include:

 
  1. Increasing the vaccine stocks for Sarawak without any delay.
  2. Allowing private clinics and medical practitioners to run a a parallel vaccination drive along with the government’s free vaccination programme to help the country achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus as quick as possible.
  3. Providing ‘Green Passes’ or interstate travels without quarantine for those who have received the second dose of the vaccine. This will incentivise people to accept and register for vaccination.
  4. Stepping up the mass communication efforts through Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) and other government news agencies to promote the benefits of vaccination to all ethnics and communities in Sarawak.
  5. Instilling public confidence in administration of the SOPs by not having double standard in the SOPs applicable to the VIPs and the common people.
 
For illustrative purposes.
 

Previously, another Sarawak PH leader, the MP for Bandar Kuching Dr Kelvin Yii also urged that the PN government to introduce creative initiatives to increase the low registration level of the Covid-19 vaccine. Among others, Kelvin proposed that the Federal Government tap into existing patient database from the public and private sector and approach them directly for registration.

 
 

PH Sarawak has always pushed for the vaccination programme to be rolled out as fast as possible. Chong stressed that with herd immunity achieved after 70% of the population are vaccinated, Sarawak and the rest of Malaysia can open up our economy and return to the normal economic activities again. With local businesses, business travels, tourism, in-flow of investments and others functioning as per normal after herd immunity is achieved, our nation can prosper once more. – The Rocket.

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