KUCHING, Aug 15 — Sarawak government is working closely with the Health Department and Education Department on a plan to inoculate teenagers aged 16 and 17 with the Covid-19 vaccine, said State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Datuk Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
“We are planning to have a discussion on vaccinating this group of teenagers next week and we hope to roll out the vaccination as fast as possible, mirroring our achievement of high vaccination rate among those aged 18 and above” he told reporters after visiting a mobile vaccination facility at Kenyalang Park here yesterday morning.
Dr Sim, who is Minister of Local Government and Housing, said the plan to vaccinate those aged 16 to 17 would involve about 101,000 students in 194 secondary schools in Sarawak.
Speaking on a Facebook Live session later in the afternoon, he said the preliminary planning was to have the teenagers be vaccinated at their respective schools since the teachers would have known their students very well.
“Maybe the parents could just drop off their children at their schools to be vaccinated and later, pick them up in the afternoon. We have to make sure that the vaccines would be made available and at least 194 teams comprising nurses and doctors would be deployed to these schools,” said Dr Sim during the e-session hosted by Kuching South Mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng.
During the visit to Kenyalang Park, the SDMC advisor told reporters that Sarawak would seek to administer at least one dose of vaccine to this group before the reopening of schools.
Dr Sim later reiterated the state government’s aim of making sure that nobody would be left behind in the state’s Covid-19 vaccination drive and he hoped that those who had yet to be vaccinated to go to any vaccination centre to have their jabs.
“In Sarawak, we are quite fortunate that we have managed to achieve high vaccination rate before the Delta variant of Covid-19 struck. In Peninsular Malaysia, they got hit by the Delta variant before their mass vaccination drive had accelerated,” he added.
Moreover, Dr Sim said Sarawak would convert a stadium into a Covid-19 Low-Risk Treatment and Quarantine Centre (PKRC) from a vaccination centre (PPV) to accommodate new infected patients.
Meanwhile, he expressed shock over the high number of people coming down to the mobile vaccination facility at Kenyalang Park yesterday and in this respect, he hoped that the local council would identify the reasons why these people had not received their vaccines earlier.
On a related matter, Dr Sim stressed the importance of raising awareness of mental illness amidst the Covid-19 pandemic to allow timely intervention to be carried out. — Borneo Post