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22 May 2024

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Sabah needs an Operation Surge Capacity too, says Kota Kinabalu MP


As the number of daily Covid-19 cases in Sabah breached the 1,000-mark yesterday, Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin said Sabah urgently needs an Operation Surge Capacity like the one in Klang Valley in order to ramp up vaccination numbers in the state as quickly as possible.

“We need an operation for urgent vaccination, just like Operation Surge Capacity in the Klang Valley which aims to inoculate all registered individuals aged 18 and above, with at least their first dose by Aug 1,” Chan said in a statement today.

He pointed to senior paediatrician consultant Dr Amar-Singh HSS who had tweeted yesterday that Sabah may be returning to the crisis level it experienced towards the end of last year as Covid-19 cases in the state are rising rapidly with the mortality rate having risen 84 percent when comparing the first two weeks of July with the last two weeks.

The situation becomes more precarious as Sabah has the lowest vaccine supply per population in the country and one of the lowest vaccination rates nationwide with the past seven-day average for total daily doses administered at only 31,804.

Chan said when Sabah was struggling with the increase in Covid-19 cases last year, they received additional resources and manpower from the federal government which the state certainly will not be able to receive this time around due to stretched resources nationwide.

Hence, he agreed with the Sabah state government that a high vaccination rate was one of the keys to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic in Sabah, though he said they have “failed to see the urgency in implementing the solution rightfully”.

The state government had aimed to vaccinate only 60 percent of Sabah’s population by October which Chan says is too late.

If there is to be an Operation Surge Capacity in Sabah, Chan says the state should aim to administer at least 60,000 doses per day, about double the current vaccination rate.

“The initial targeted 30,000 doses per day capacity announced in June was only achieved after July 21 due to unfair distribution and late delivery of vaccines. There is no room for delay anymore,” he said.

The Sabah government should also be proactive in increasing the vaccine supply being delivered to the state, he said.

The state government should ask themselves what they can do, such as putting in their vaccine orders earlier or negotiating with the federal government to absorb logistical or vaccine costs and so on, he said.

“It is useless to point at your counterpart the federal government only as federal also acts based on supply and it would be too late to demand for vaccines only after it arrives in Kuala Lumpur from the manufacturers,” Chan said.

Previously, National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said Sabah has received around 1.8 million vaccine doses.

Chan said he also understands Sabah will get another 1.8 million doses of the single-shot Cansino vaccine as well as another 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in August.

The Kota Kinabalu MP said Sabah needs to vaccinate 2.7 million adults in the state, but added that this figure does not seem to include undocumented migrants.

“Even though we should prioritise vaccinating all Sabahans first, we will eventually have to deal with these undocumented migrants who are also humans capable of carrying and transmitting Covid-19,” he said.

Hence, he questioned what the state government has planned to ensure future vaccine supply and pointed to two seemingly contradictory reports in the news.

Chan said Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Noor had reportedly said the state government will only rely on the federal government for its vaccine supply but Pharmaniaga Group managing director Zulkarnain Md Eusope was quoted saying Sabah was among the states who have requested to purchase the Sinovac vaccine from the company.

“So now, will the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (state government) proceed with the order?” Chan asked. - Mkini

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