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KOTA KINABALU, April 19 -- Sabah aims to vaccinate 268,000 people under phase two of the state-level National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme from today until August, said state Minister of Community Development and People’s Well-being Shahelmey Yahya.
He said the second phase would involve senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities (PwD) as well as high-risk individuals with chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
“Today, more than 200 people are expected to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine under phase two, followed by 600 more tomorrow and the day after,” he told reporters after representing Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor in launching the second phase of the immunisation programme today.
Also present were State Secretary Datuk Safar Untong, Federal State Secretary Datuk Dr Zulkapli Mohamed and Sabah Health director Dr Christina Rundi.
Shahelmey urged Sabahans to immediately register for the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme as a very low number of people had done so, with 426,934 registered as of April 17.
He also hoped that the vaccination of 42,117 frontliners under the first phase would be a testimony to their family members and friends who are eligible to receive the vaccine jabs.
“Once it (second phase) begins, all negative perceptions that are going viral on the social media (regarding the COVID-19 vaccines) will be slowly dispelled. We need to get more people in Sabah to come forward to register for this immunisation programme,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said six healthcare workers in Sabah, who had completed their vaccination process, were found to have contracted COVID-19, with some being infected through close contact while others tested positive less than a week after being vaccinated.
“When we have been given the vaccine, it does not mean we will not be infected, but with the presence of the vaccine, it will increase the immunity in our body and that is the purpose so that we can curb and reduce the spread of the virus.
“Although we have been vaccinated, we must still comply with all the standard operating procedures drawn up by the government since we have yet to reach the 80 per cent herd immunity,” he said, adding that Sabah so far has 212 vaccine dispensing centres statewide.