KUALA LUMPUR, August 13 — Five DAP lawmakers from Sabah, Penang, Melaka, Johor, and Pahang today urged the government to prioritise Covid-19 jabs for adults ahead of children, amid soaring infections in states lagging behind in vaccinations.
They also appealed to the federal government to defer the reopening of schools scheduled next month to prevent further coronavirus spread among unvaccinated adolescents.
National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin earlier announced that all children aged between 12 and 17 years will be offered Covid-19 jabs from September, following revised recommendations to the Special Committee On Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV).
He said PICK will start giving vaccinations first to 12- to 17-year-olds with underlying medical conditions, followed by healthy adolescents in that age group from older to younger. Further announcements on the implementation of the vaccination programme will be made next week.
“Dear minister, with all due respect, whilst the vaccinations roll out for adults had certainly been quite successful in certain states such as Kuala Lumpur which achieved over 100 per cent vaccination date for first dose, the adult population in most of the other states in Malaysia are still begging for vaccines,” Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin, Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai, Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong, Labis MP Pang Hok Liong, and Bentong MP Wong Tack said in a joint statement today.
They highlighted that Sabah’s vaccination rate of adults remains the lowest in Malaysia, with just slightly over 40 per cent for the first dose and less than 20 per cent completing their second dose. At the same time, Sabah reached an all-time peak of 2,052 Covid-19 cases yesterday.
Meanwhile, Kelantan’s adult vaccination rate for the first dose is similarly low at 48.8 per cent.
Other states such as Penang and Melaka had just over 60 per cent of the adult population vaccinated, while Terengganu, Perak, Pahang, Kedah and Johor’s first-dose vaccination rate for adults is less than 60 per cent.
“In Melaka and Penang, many second-dose appointments have been postponed due to vaccine shortage. Some who have not received their first dose appointment resorted to change their address to Selangor and travel there to receive their vaccine.
“This goes to show a clear imbalance of vaccine supply over states in Malaysia. This also goes to show that there might be an incidence of oversupply in certain states. It’s now time to focus on achieving a 70 per cent adult vaccination rate in states that are lagging behind,” they said.
“Adults, as breadwinners of the family, are still left out and are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19.”
Today, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 21,468 new Covid-19 cases nationwide, including 1,654 infections in Sabah, 1,485 in Johor, 1,316 in Penang, 723 in Melaka, and 572 in Pahang.
In terms of incidence rates today, among the five states, Melaka reported the highest at 77.5 new cases per 100,000 population, followed by Penang (74.2), Sabah (42.3), Johor (39.3), and Pahang (34.1). The national incidence rate today was 65.7 cases per 100,000 population.