How Will Sabah’s Undocumented, Stateless Get Vaccinated? Sandakan MP Asks

According to Sandakan MP Vivian Wong, Sabah’s undocumented migrants could range anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 people.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — Sandakan MP Vivian Wong today asked the government how it planned to administer the Covid-19 vaccine to undocumented migrants or stateless people in Sabah.

Wong, in a statement, pointed out that Sabah’s population, which is about four million people, includes a large number of undocumented migrants that could range anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000. 

“This means that we will need to vaccinate close to 3.5 million people in Sabah in order to achieve herd immunity,” Wong said. 

“How is the government (planning) to do this when we don’t even have a record of how many undocumented person are there in our state? And with this huge undocumented population living ‘under the radar’, how is the authority going to reach out to them for the vaccination programme?” 

The DAP lawmaker questioned if Sabah can achieve herd immunity without if all the undocumented migrants are not vaccinated. 

Wong in her statement also said that she has yet to see the government coming up with a concrete plan to tackle the issue of how the stateless and undcoumented in Sabah will get vaccinated. 

“This is going to be a massive obstacle in preventing us from achieving herd immunity. Without herd immunity, it could affect the reopening of our border as well as business and social activities in the state.”

Previously, Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the government is going to use the single-shot Covid-19 vaccine for undocumented migrants so that they don’t have to turn up once again for the second dose appointment. 

Wong yesterday helped local residents at Taman Tyng to register for the Covid-19 vaccination programme. Fifty people registered, the majority of whom were senior citizens with no access to the internet and did not own a smartphone. 

Wong also pointed out that as of March 17, Sabah has only managed to vaccinate 35,537 people, 22 days after the start of the immunisation programme, or just 0.93 doses (first dose) administered per 100 people.

“This worked out to be slightly more than 1,600 person a day. Assuming that the authority can ramp up the vaccination rate per day by four times to about 6,400 people per day, to get 3.5 million people here inoculated, we will still need at least 547 days to achieve that,” the DAP lawmaker said. 

“This will bring us to the second half of 2022 before we can talk about any possible herd immunity. This is way too far off from the target date announced by the government itself.

“Hence, the government must come out with a clear strategy to vaccinate and protect Sabah, and not only be concerned with looking after their own ministers.”

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced last Wednesday an increase of RM2 billion for the national Covid-19 vaccination programme from the original RM3 billion allocation in a bid to achieve herd immunity by this December.

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