Many parents opting to wait and see, says one district health officer.
Sabah’s Low Vaccination Rate For Kids Raises Concern Among Authorities
KOTA KINABALU – Parents in Sabah are urged to bring their children aged between five to 11 for their Covid-19 vaccination, given that only 2.35% of eligible children were vaccinated as of yesterday.
In an update yesterday, Sabah Covid-19 official spokesman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said that only 9,686 (2.35%) out of 411,400 eligible children have received the Comirnaty vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech.
“This is a very low figure, taking into account the high risk of infections and the high number of children aged below 11 that have been infected with the virus daily,” he said.
12 days ago on February 3, Sabah started giving the Covid-19 vaccine to children aged five to 11.
Yesterday, Masidi said a total of 272 new Covid-19 patients (6.7% out of the total 4,035 new cases) are children aged 5 to 11 who are eligible to receive the vaccination but had not.
“We hope that parents will take the initiative to ensure that their children receive the vaccine so that they can get maximum protection from the virus,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Sandakan, district health officer Dr Johari Awang Besar said that the slow vaccination rate for children in the district is worrying, with only 100 to 160 children receiving vaccination per day.
“Many parents want to ‘wait and see’. I strongly advise parents not to wait and take their children to get the vaccine immediately. Just walk into any of the 13 clinics that provide vaccination for children available in the district,” he stressed.
source - NST
Johari also said that there are parents who claim that their children’s schools are going to arrange for a vaccination date as they have been asked to submit forms on whether they allow their children to be vaccinated.
“The situation depends on the number of unvaccinated students at the school. It is possible that the schools and the Health Department will be arranging for mass vaccination sessions, but as of now, parents are advised to take their children to get the vaccine themselves,” he said.
In Sabah, the vaccination programme for children aged 5 to 11 (PICKids) is conducted by a joint effort between the Sabah Health Department and district health offices, and the state Education Department and district education offices, aimed at ensuring that the vaccination programme among children goes smoothly.
A primary school teacher in Beaufort, Arlene Yapp told The Vibes that in her school, teachers have been actively collecting data from students’ parents, but only to ascertain the number of students who are unvaccinated, vaccinated, and refused to be vaccinated.
Meanwhile, a local mother from Sandakan, Anna Asmael, who has 10-year-old and 12-year-old sons, said that there has been little information about child vaccination, and that she feared for their safety if they were given the shot.
She said only two students out of 25 in her son’s class had agreed to receive the vaccine.
A father of a five-year-old from Tuaran, Raymond Chong, said that he had learned from the news that the United States had temporarily stopped distribution of the Comirnaty vaccine for use on children aged six months to four years old.
“This is worrying because my son is only five years old, I feel that that is too close of a gap than the four years old limit that the US had set. So I have decided to wait until this vaccine has further studies before I allow my son to be inoculated.
“Furthermore, it is not compulsory for now,” he said.
Meanwhile, a mother of two in Sandakan, Nur Shakirah Ahmad said that she had heard rumours from her siblings working in the Health Department that Malaysia will be purchasing the Sinovac vaccine for children and it will be a single-dose vaccine.
“I will wait for that vaccine to arrive because the current Pfizer vaccine may be too ‘strong’ for children,” she said.
In Sandakan, children and adult vaccines (first, second and booster shots) are available in Klinik Kesihatan (Health Clinic) Sandakan, Sg Manila, Ulu Dusun, Batu 10, Klinik Desa Batu 7, and Klinik Kesihatan Ibu dan Anak Sandakan on weekdays (8.30am to 4pm) and weekends (8am to 1pm).
The same vaccines are also available in Klinik Komuniti Karamunting, PPR Taman Murni, Bandar Letat, Bandar Labuk, PPR Taman Gum Gum Jaya, Taman Seletar, and Bandar Leila on weekdays (9.30am to 4pm) and weekends (9.30am to 4pm). For these clinics, child vaccination is only available on weekdays.
Yesterday, the state recorded 4,035 new Covid-19 cases, and 61.07% or 2,464 cases are sporadic cases, showing that the Covid-19 figures in Sabah will continue to rise.
Kota Kinabalu remains the highest contributor to daily infections with 910 cases, followed by Sandakan (496), Tuaran (388), Tawau (328), Penampang (325), Papar (263), Putatan (200), Lahad Datu (189), Beaufort (134), Ranau (129), Keningau (106) and Kota Belud (106).
Source – The Vibes