Media Statement by MP for Sandakan, Vivian Wong Shir Yee on 19 March 2021:
Democratic Action Party (DAP) Member of Parliament for Sandakan, Vivian Wong Shir Yee, in a statement issued today said that she is extremely concerned about how Sabah is going to achieve herd immunity by early next year. This is because the current National Immunisation Plan (NIP) does not address the issue of large number of stateless and undocumented persons who are residing in Sabah.
She made the above statement during the P186 Sandakan mobile service at Taman Tyng yesterday to help local residents register for the Covid-19 vaccination programme. About 50 people turned up at the mobile service counter to seek help on the vaccination registration, in which a majority of them are senior citizens with no access to internet and do not own a smart phone.
“The Prime Minister has just announced another RM2 billion allocation to the NIP with the hope of getting more Malaysians vaccinated as fast as possible.”
“However, announcing huge allocations without specifying how the government is going to spend it has somewhat become the standard trademark of this PN government.”
“Up till now, I have not seen any concrete plan to tackle the issue of getting all those stateless and undocumented in Sabah vaccinated. This is going to be a massive obstacle in preventing us from achieving herd immunity. Without herd immunity, it could affect the reopening of our border as well as business and social activities in the state.”
Vivian added that the state of Sabah has a population of approximately 4 million people. However, this figure does not take into consideration the large population of undocumented people which could range anywhere from 100 to 300 thousands.
“This means that we will need to vaccinate close to 3.5 million people in Sabah in order to achieve herd immunity. How does the government plan to do this when we don’t even have a record of how many undocumented person are there in our state?”
Furthermore, with a huge undocumented population living ‘under the radar’, Vivian questions how the relevant authorities will move to reach out to them to join the vaccination programme. Doing so is imperative given how the state would not be able to achieve herd immunity without this ‘under the radar’ population also being inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine.
The DAP lawmaker iterated,
“The government cannot remain silent on this issue and pretend things will work out on its own”
Up until 17 March 2021, Sabah has only managed to vaccinate 35,537 person within the span of 22 days, making the average inoculation rate being slightly above 1600 person a day.
Assuming that the authority can ramp up the vaccination rate by 4 times to about 6400 person per day, to get 3.5 million people in Sabah inoculated, at least 547 days is needed to achieve that. As such, herd immunity can only be achieved by the 2nd half of 2022. Therefore, Vivian asserted that this is too far off from the target date announced by the government itself.
“Hence, the government must come out with a clear strategy to vaccinate and protect Sabah, and not only concern with looking after their own ministers”.