KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — Sabah lawmakers yesterday criticised the state’s slow Covid-19 vaccination rate, noting that registration with mobile app MySejahtera was not suitable for many rural residents.
Tuaran MP Wilfred Madius Tangau pointed out to Parliament that some Sabah residents were asked to go to the Selangor capital of Shah Alam to get their jabs.
The former science, technology and innovation minister said that the lack of vaccine supply is also one of the reasons for the poor Covid-19 vaccination rate in Sabah. The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) does not reveal to the public the amount of vaccine deliveries to states.
“Those who registered for vaccines in Sabah got their vaccination appointment in Shah Alam,” Tangau, who is also UPKO president and former Sabah deputy chief minister, told a special Dewan Rakyat meeting yesterday.
As of July 25, only 23.4 per cent of adults in Sabah have received at least the first of the coronavirus vaccine, whereas only 13.8 per cent adults have been inoculated completely, the lowest rates in the country.
Tangau was responding to Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, who told the House that vaccination is the key to reduce Covid-19 cases.
“We have to emphasise on the vaccination rate because it indirectly reduced symptomatic cases and pressure on the capacity of public hospitals,” Zafrul said.
Malaysia has only fully inoculated 23.6 per cent of its adult population as of July 25. The Ministry of Health (MOH) recorded a record daily Covid-19 death toll of 207 fatalities yesterday, as well as 14,516 new infections, while intensive care unit (ICU) cases and those needing ventilator support hit highs of 1,009 and 524 yesterday.
MOH does not publish how many severe Covid-19 cases in Categories Four and Five are receiving treatment outside ICU, such as in repurposed general beds or in emergency departments.
According to Zafrul, as of July 24, Malaysia has administered 1.29 vaccine doses per 100 people in the country.
Penampang MP Darell Leiking also raised a question to Zafrul on the imbalanced vaccination rate between Sabah and Sarawak.
“Why have vaccination efforts been so successful in Sarawak, whereas Sabah has the lowest vaccination rate?” Leiking asked in Parliament. “Why is there no balance between Sabah and Sarawak?”
While Sabah recorded the lowest vaccination rate in Malaysia, Sarawak — with its own uniquely tailored vaccination strategy that allowed walk-ins and delivered shots to the interiors — was second highest behind Labuan.
As of July 25, Sarawak has successfully inoculated 81.3 per cent of the state’s adult population with at least the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, including 55.8 per cent of adults who completed their vaccination. Sarawak’s 55.8 per cent complete vaccination rate is quadruple Sabah’s 13.8 per cent.
Zafrul said that the poorer vaccine registration rate in Sabah contributed to lower vaccine administration.
According to the finance minister, only 39.2 per cent of Sabahans have registered for Covid-19 vaccination compared to 86.8 per cent of Sarawakians.
However, in May, Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that Sarawak is being prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination as the state is required by law to hold its state election within 60 days after the Emergency Proclamation in the country ends by August 1.
De facto law minister Takiyuddin Hassan told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that the government has decided against advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to extend the Emergency Proclamation beyond August 1.