KOTA KINABALU, Aug 24 — Efforts to expedite vaccinations in Sabah to combat the resurgent Covid-19 have hit an obstacle as its supply of vaccines was dwindling and new supplies from peninsular Malaysia have not come as scheduled, sources said.
They told Malay Mail that this has also forced some vaccination centres (PPVs) in the state to ration their doses by limiting walk-in slots for first doses.
“Our doses are limited now as shipment has not arrived from [the peninsula]. All PPVs are having the same problem.
“For now, every day we are giving about 500 to 600 doses only for the first doses,” said a source working at a vaccination centre here.
Major vaccination centres like the Sabah International Convention Centre, Universiti Malaysia Sabah and the Penampang Cultural Centre have been encountering many walk-ins, especially from the migrant community, since the government announced that this would be allowed in order to speed up vaccination as much as possible.
Another volunteer at the vaccination centre said the practice to limit walk-in vaccinations began on Saturday.
The state has ramped up its vaccination numbers this month, averaging more than 50,000 a day and hitting its peak at 62,365 doses last Wednesday, but this has since dropped to around 55,000 doses per day over the weekend, and just 41,289 doses yesterday, the lowest in 10 days.
Of the total, 16,563 were first doses and 24,726 were second doses.
“We need more supply as soon as possible so we can continue the momentum. We need to push and settle 90 per cent of the population by the end of next month,” the person said
According to the person, more supplies were due to arrive this week but there has not been any news.
“The National CITF promised to send in more supplies this week. Hopefully they stick to their promise,” he said, referring to the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force.
Malay Mail has reached out to Sabah Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Masidi Manjun and Sabah Health Director Dr Rose Nani Mudin for comment.
On August 11, Masidi said that the federal government was due to send 1.5 million doses to Sabah this August and that shipments have begun. He also said that the state was expecting supply of the Pfizer vaccine to be disrupted.
Sabah has been recording record high daily Covid 19 cases recently, second only to Selangor, partly due to a backlog of cases. It is also the state with the lowest vaccination rate after Kelantan and Kedah, a fact attributed to its bigger population and bigger land mass.
The sharp increase in cases began in mid-July and has since quadrupled, prompting the government to focus on ramping up vaccination efforts.
To do this, they have allowed walk-ins at most vaccination centres and also encouraged government linked companies and the private sector to purchase their own vaccines.
Sabah recorded 2,474 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, of which 12 per cent are from a backlog.
As of yesterday, more than 30 per cent of Sabah’s registered adult population has been fully vaccinated while another 52.4 per cent has gotten their first dose.