Tawau MP Datuk Christina Liew disclosed that a total of 32,429 residents in the district have been vaccinated as of June 24, but there is a need to accelerate the tempo of vaccination vis-a-vis a population of 441,800 under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme.
In this regard, she proposed that the Government provide subsidies to public transport companies and other registered transporters for them to convey people, who live in distant areas, to the vaccination administration centre (PPV).
The former Deputy Chief Minister made the proposal after visiting the PPV at the Tawau Teachers Education Institute (IPG Tawau) in Balung where she was briefed on the district’s COVID-19 vaccination programme on Saturday.
“Lack of transportation is one of the factors why many residents find it difficult to come to the PPV. For greater accessibility, we need to enlist the services of public transport companies and other transporters. This is one effective way to expedite the rate of vaccination against the deadly virus.
“We hope Tawau will receive its next supply of COVID-19 vaccines soon. Looking at the current situation, it will be an uphill task to achieve herd immunity by the end of the year,” Liew told reporters.
Briefing the Tawau MP, the Tawau Area Health Officer Dr G. Navindran said many people who live in faraway locations find it inconvenient to come to the PPV for their vaccination.
“The PPV in Balung has the capacity to administer 300 doses of the vaccine per day since its opening on June 21 until today (June 26). We are closing the centre after today’s exercise. The Tawau Community Centre will reopen tomorrow (June 27) to resume the second dose of vaccination,” he told Liew.
Based on data from the National Security Council (MKN), Sabah, Liew, who is also Api Api Assemblywoman, noted that of the Tawau population of 441,800, only 81,669 people (or 18.5pc) have registered for vaccination as of June 25. For Tawau, the daily tally for registration was 1021 on June 25 as an example.
“Overall, the rate is relatively low. As I said earlier, we need to speed up the pace of registration. I have directed the Tawau Parliamentary People’s Service Centre to start a rural outreach registration programme immediately. A team will visit remote areas in the constituency to reach out to those who are eligible but have yet to register,” she said.
According to Liew, the People’s Service Centre alone has to date registered 3,300 people for vaccination but only a small number have received their first dose of vaccine. “Their second vaccination is scheduled for July,” she added.
She was accompanied on the visit by Tawau Parliamentary Chief Liaison Officer, Fung Thin Yein and Liaison Officer Robert Penggai.