KOTA KINABALU, Sept 6 — Sabah would receive 2.89 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine this month towards increasing the vaccination rate in the state, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said with the delivery of the vaccine supply, the government was confident that Sabah could increase its vaccination rate to 60,000 or up to 70,000 doses daily to enable 60 per cent of the state’s adult population to be vaccinated by the end of this month.
“We are still maintaining the target of 60 per cent of the state’s adult population to be fully vaccinated by the end of this September and 80 per cent by the end of October in accordance with the targeted value set.
“To achieve this target, we will hold more mobile outreach programmes. The state (Sabah) government and Health Department will plan over 130 outreach programmes this September and October,” Khairy said at a news conference held at Menara Kinabalu, here, today.
Earlier, he and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor jointly chaired the state-level COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) Meeting, here.
Khairy said that after reaching the target of 80 per cent of Sabah’s adult population being fully vaccinated by October, it could start vaccinating the adolescents but this would depend on the level of vaccination achieved.
On the high need for the one-dose CanSino vaccine, especially by people in the interior areas of Sabah, he said Malaysia would be receiving 300,000 doses of the vaccine this month, with Sabah getting the proportion it was supposed to from this supply.
“According to the schedule, Malaysia will receive 100,000 doses (of the CanSino vaccine) next week and another 200,000 doses at the end of this month, bringing the total to only 300,000 doses due to the insufficient supply internationally.
“We expect to receive more of this vaccine in October and Sabah will definitely be among the states to be given priority,” he said.
In assisting Sabah battle the COVID-19 pandemic, Khairy said the Health Ministry would be supplying additional medical equipment comprising 480 cylinders of oxygen, 24 boxes of oxygen regulators and five boxes of COVID-19 medications which were scheduled to arrive tomorrow.
Khairy said the Health Ministry had also provided the modular intensive care unit with a capacity of 10 beds at Tawau Hospital and he would be visiting the site for an additional field hospital in Tawau tomorrow.
He said the ministry would also provide 29 additional ambulances for hospitals in Sabah and mobilise medical personnel to the state with 97 of the 150 permanent officers ordered to report themselves in Sabah last Aug 2 and Sept 1.
“Fifty of the additional medical officers will be offered permanent posts beginning Sept 13 and the balance of the requirement will be filled by graduate medical officers while the 78 assistant medical officers who were mobilised to Selangor will return to Sabah, the latest by the end of this week.
“Currently, the capacity of the ICUs in Sabah is at 90 per cent and the ventilators at 46 per cent. I will discuss Sabah’s projection for the coming weeks to ensure a sufficient ICU capacity and oxygen supply,” he added.
On the increase in the number of brought-in-dead (BID) cases, Khairy said most of these cases were not under the care of health facilities and did not undergo screening.
“We want to ensure that those under the care of health facilities such as the District Health Office or a private clinic, when under house quarantine, are being monitored. When they are found to have more serious symptoms, we can do intervention or ask them to go to the hospital.
“Strong community relations is also important in reducing the number of BID cases, where members of the community, especially the local leaders could monitor their neighbours who are positive for COVID-19 and ensure that those with symptoms undergo screening fast,” he said.