The Federal Government and the Special Committee on COVID-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) must ensure IMMEDIATE extra supplies of vaccine to Sarawak in view of the spike of cases of Covid-19 in the state.
This is in line with the current government’s vaccine “ring-strategy” which was announced by the Minister YB KHAIRY JAMALUDDIN, the CO-CHAIR OF JKJAV as early as January 2021.
Yesterday, Sarawak recorded 419 positive Covid-19 cases which is the highest in Malaysia and huge part of this was down to a spike in cases at Sri Aman prison which was similar to the drastic increase in positive cases that was previously detected in Semuja Immigration Depo at the end of last month.
Fact of the matter is, the State Government did not even have to specially request from the Prime Minister during his visit here in Kuching on the 1st of April 2021 to increase additional vaccines to Sarawak, as technically if based on the strategy set by the government itself, they would have automatically sent more vaccines to Sarawak as the sudden increase in cases in those centres activates the “ring-strategy” protocol.
A ring vaccination strategy targets area with a spike of coronavirus cases, such as prisons, detention centres, or workplaces. This strategy will run simultaneously throughout the phases of the national vaccination programme that prioritises frontliners first, and the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions next, before the general public.
The Minister himself was quoted on the 26th January 2021 on CODEBLUE that “If there’s a particular geographical location or particular cluster that has shown exponential spike in cases, then we’ll divert vaccinations there,”
“For instance, if there’s a prison or detention centre, or a company, that suddenly shows a big increase [of Covid-19 cases], our vaccination or immunisation plan allows for tactical deployment to outbreak areas.”
That is why in the case of Sarawak, by right, since last month, more supplies of vaccine should have been automatically sent by the Federal Government without the need for the State to make special request to the PM himself as it clearly fits the said “ring-strategy” protocol.
The Federal Government should have been more proactive and adhere to their own protocols to properly control the outbreak of such cases in high risk areas.
We should not downplay the severity of the issue as while most of the cases are contained in the prison or detention centre, but the risk is that the officers and workers that are exposed in that area, runs the risk of bringing the virus back to their homes or even their community.
The possible infected family members can also bring the infection to their community unknowingly as most cases we have observed are asymptomatic, thus increasing possibility of local transmission within that said community.
That is why I urge the Federal Government and JKJAV to IMMEDIATELY send over additional supplies of vaccine to properly address the rising cases of Covid-19 in those high-risk areas in Sarawak. By right, we should not be made to beg or even make special request and if they have been pro-active, we would have received automatically as all these already falls within the set protocols and strategy of the Ministry.