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Masidi and Salleh witness the exchange of the Supply and Distribution Agreement. — Borneo Post pic
Masidi and Salleh witness the exchange of the Supply and Distribution Agreement. — Borneo Post pic

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KOTA KINABALU, Aug 7 — The Sabah State Government is upscaling its vaccination rollout plan in effort to achieve the herd immunity by the end of 2021. In view of this, the Sabah State Government has chosen its wholly owned investment arm, Qhazanah Sabah Group, to be the assisting body to ensure sufficient and fast deployment of vaccines.

Qhazanah Sabah has answered this call and its chairman, Datuk Seri Panglima Md Salleh Said Keruak, has announced the procurement of vaccines is in process.

“It is because of our duty to serve the government, Qhazanah Group, through our wholly-owned subsidiary namely WH Medicare, has committed to procure Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine from Pharmaniaga LifeScience Sdn Bhd. As the chairman of Qhazanah, I am honoured and I thank Sabah for choosing Qhazanah to assist,” Salleh said.

The purchase of vaccine has been confirmed following the signing of supply and distribution agreement between WH Medicare Sdn Bhd and Pharmaniaga LifeScience Sdn Bhd on August 6 at the Sabah State Administration Centre PPNS. The signing was witnessed by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun and Salleh.

The agreement guarantees the purchase of 250,000 doses that can cater to 125,000 patients. This purchase addresses the challenges stated by Masidi, who is also the Finance Minister II, during the signing ceremony on the two factors that will affect efficiency of vaccine rollout.

“The two challenges we face are capacity to vaccinate and sufficient supply of vaccine that will be delivered according to a fixed schedule,” said Masidi.

Currently, Sabah is focused on implementing enhanced movement control order (EMCO) on affected areas and this measure has managed to control the number of infection cases compared to the rest of the states in Malaysia. However, this measure brings an additional challenge that ties to the temporary stop on economic activities of the people.

It brings the upscaling of vaccination rollout to an utmost priority in the State’s agenda. Vaccination is the best global guarantee to co-exist with the Covid-19 virus where the main function is to reduce the likelihood of severe stage infection and hence reduces the risk of death. Achieving herd immunity is the best way for the government to continue serving its social obligation to protect the people whilst ensuring that the economic activities would not cease completely and livelihood of the people will not be adversely affected.

Sabah has recorded on August 2 that 907,248 out of registered population have successfully received the first dose. However, the increase in daily cases remains and herd immunity has to be achieved in order to tackle both safety net and economic challenges of the people.

When asked about the schedule delivery, Salleh said that the important feature that the Group was looking at before agreeing to procure is efficiency of supply.

“This is why we chose Pharmaniaga LifeScience as our partner. The product is filled and finished in the factory here in Malaysia where logistics and distribution will be less of an issue. What matters is the vaccine is available when and as we need them. This is what we are offering to the State,” he said.

During the signing, Masidi urged big companies to get their employees vaccinated. He said it is reasonable to allow companies to operate on a 100 per cent capacity if all the eligible employees and their family members are vaccinated.

Masidi also acknowledged the pressing needs to re-open economic activities and hence all measures will be taken to facilitate this.

“Through Qhazanah, Sabah now has accessibility to vaccine supply. The rollout for this vaccine supply will be brought forward to the Cabinet for further discussion and refinement,” he said.

Salleh responded positively to this initiative and said that WH Medicare will work closely with the Sabah State Government.

“Qhazanah Sabah, through WH Medicare, is ready to play an active role in assisting the government to implement measure that will enable the people of Sabah to live safely in this time of uncertainty. After all, it is our collective responsibility to assist each other,” he added.

Also present at the signing were Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Finance, Tuan Hj Rusdin Riman; Executive Director for Qhazanah Sabah Sdn Bhd, Tuan Hj Mohd Shukor Bin Abdul Mumin and WH Medicare Sabah Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Dr Johnson Tee. — Borneo Post

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