Press Statement By Chiew Chiu Sing:
Tanjong Batu assemblyman Chiew Chin Sing urged the State Government to ensure that Covid-19 vaccines allocated to Sarawak by the Federal Government arrives in correct quantity and on time.
“Though the State leader had implemented numerous control orders to contain the spread of the pandemic, the people can obviously see that there is no sign indicating that the pandemic is slowing down,” he said in a press statement today.
He added that the people sacrificed a lot to adhere to all the standard operating procedures (SOP) put in place, but it seems that the pandemic can only be effectively contained when the targetted number of people are vaccinated.
“Many countries are reaching the targetted rate of people vaccinated. But look at our country, we are way behind because our vaccination programme is too slow,” he pointed out.
According to Chiew, he met up with Bintulu Divisional Health Officer, Dr. Melvin Chung Hsien Liang in March and was told that Bintulu Hospital is all geared up to carry out its first phase of the vaccination programme. In fact, the hospital successfully vaccinated 600 people through the programme in early March.
However, he believed that based on facilities available at Universiti Putra Malaysia, a Bintulu Vaccination Center, more than 600 people can be vaccinated in a day.
“As long as there are sufficient supply of vaccines, I believed we can even vaccinate up to 2,000 people daily. We actually can vaccinate a lot of people early, but we do not have enough supply to do so.”
Our hospital are all geared up and waiting for vaccine supply to arrive, but only a limited amount of vaccine allocated for Bintulu have been received. Sometimes only hundreds of doses a week, sometimes less than that.
“Three months of the vaccination programme now passed and valuable time have been wasted. We could have achieved better vaccination rate if we had all the needed supply of vaccines,” he lamented.
Chiew said if proper planning were made earlier to vaccinate 2,000 people a day, 90,000 people could have been vaccinated in the last three months without any valuable time wasted.
“If the vaccination process was done twice the current rate, including in other vaccination centres, we could have vaccinated 18,000 people and Bintulu could have achieved the targetted number for herd immunity,” he pointed out further.
Once herd immunity is achieved, Chiew said Bintulu will no longer be affected by the pandemic and its residents would not have to worry about it daily. By then, the people can start living life as normal. Even the food industry can operate as usual and all level of businesses can start to recover.
He added that there would also be smoother traffic flow of roadblocks interruption and the peoples’ problem which arises from the pandemic can be resolved.
“Our front-liners can also have the rest that they very much needed since the pandemic started.”
“But because of our incapable Sarawak leaders, we are in a miserable situation and badly affected by the Movement Control Order (MCO), on top of the worsening pandemic situation.”
“Actually Bintulu can effectively handle the vaccination process for the people, but after three months of trying to do their best, they are airing their frustration on incapable State Government.”
“This included the numerous on and off lock-downs that has added to the suffering of the people and front-liners, as well as wasted everyone’s time and energy,” said Chiew.
He visited University Putra Malaysia, Bintulu Vaccination Centre last week to understand its operation as well as exchange views with doctors there, including to find out if the centre could administer 2,000 vaccines daily.
Yesterday he made another follow-up visit to the facility to ensure that they were prepared in terms of manpower as well as back-up resources for 2,000 doses of vaccines daily, should supply arrive early next month.
To ensure smooth vaccination process, Chiew also appealed to those coming over for their Covid-19 vaccination to arrive at the location at least 30 minutes earlier from their appointment time and give their fullest cooperation to front-liners on duty.
“Our front-liners are truly tired from the extra workload when conducting vaccination daily. We really appreciate their effort and sacrifices in battling this pandemic and trying their best to keep us safe,” Chiew concluded.