Khairy: Undocumented Semporna Residents Can Get Covid-19 Jabs

The health minister says some people in an island off Semporna, Sabah, have successfully received Covid-19 vaccines without a MyKad, equipped with just identity letters from the state government or their village head.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — The national Covid-19 vaccination programme in Semporna, Sabah, is open to all residents, including Malaysians or foreigners without citizenship documents, Khairy Jamaluddin said today. 

The health minister — who visited Pulau Larapan off Semporna today during his Sabah work visit to observe the Covid-19 vaccination outreach programme — found that some of those who turned up for their shots did not have a MyKad, bringing just a letter from the state government or their village head to verify their identity.

“I want to state that we give vaccines to everyone; we don’t reject anyone,” Khairy told reporters in Semporna.

“What is important is public health — we don’t ask tonnes of questions about where they’re from or why they don’t have an IC (identity card). If they are residing in Malaysia, I hope they will come forward and go to whichever PPV (vaccination site) or to these programmes to get their Covid-19 jab.

“No one is safe until everyone is safe.”

Pulau Larapan is currently using a school as a temporary PPV for one to two days to vaccinate residents. 

Khairy targets 1,000 doses of CanSino’s single-shot vaccine for the outreach programme in Pulau Larapan that has seen not just the island’s residents coming forward for their jabs, but also people from another neighbouring island.

Hence, CanSino’s single-shot vaccine is suitable for these residents. “If we have to give two doses, it would be hard to contact those living on another island,” said Khairy.

The district of Semporna has received 16,000 CanSino doses so far for its outreach programme, including 3,000 that have already been administered. 

Khairy said Malaysia is expected to receive additional deliveries from the Chinese vaccine developer next week and the last week of September, as he promised prioritising Sabah for these shipments.

“I find that community awareness is quite high,” said the health minister.

“When I asked them how they found out about the vaccination programme, they said they were informed by their village head or community leader, or in their groups, perhaps there are WhatsApp groups.

“I asked if they knew what it was for — they said it’s for Covid. So even in the islands and interiors, awareness is very good.”

Khairy said the Ministry of Health has planned more than 130 Covid-19 vaccination outreach programmes in Sabah, where district health offices, together with the state government and non-government organisations, run temporary inoculation drives and set up temporary vaccination centres.

The government aims to fully vaccinate 60 per cent of Sabah’s adult population by month’s end and 80 per cent by the end of October.

To date, about 69 per cent of Sabah’s adult population has received at least their first dose, including 45 per cent fully vaccinated. In Semporna, about half of its adult population has received at least their first dose, including 44 per cent fully inoculated.

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