Sarawak says won’t force public to take Covid-19 vaccine, says deputy CM

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said those who wanted to be vaccinated would first be checked by doctors for any allergy or sickness. — Reuters pic
Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said those who wanted to be vaccinated would first be checked by doctors for any allergy or sickness. — Reuters pic

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KUCHING, Feb 19 — The state government will not force the public to get vaccinated against Covid-19 if they are not willing to do so, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said today.

He said it will only be given to those who want it.

“This will be an individual choice. We are aware there are people who have been going around saying that they will not get themselves vaccinated because of certain fears and phobia.

“They might have unfortunately been influenced by a lot of negative postings in the social media, some of which are quite scary,” he said in an interview over the RTM Iban service.

Uggah, who is the state Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman, said the state government is targeting to get at least 2.2 Sarawakians to be vaccinated in its three- phased vaccination programme to be launched here on this February 27.

He said for those who wanted to be vaccinated they would first be checked by doctors for any allergy or sickness.

“We want to be sure their state of health indicates they are fit or eligible for the vaccination.

“We will not want them to be in danger in any way,” he said, adding that the state government would carry out a publicity campaign on the need for the people to go for the vaccination.

He said the state public communications unit (UKAS) will work with RTM, the Information Department, the media companies, social media groups and others on this state wide publicity blitz.

He said the Health Department would prepare the publicity materials.

Meanwhile Uggah  said a 10- member special committee chaired by Professor Datuk Dr Andrew Kiyu of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak has been formed to look into the need of acquiring more vaccine for the state, should the need arose.

“But, of course, the federal government is supplying the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“But we will have to look around for extra supplies, should they be inadequate or run out sooner than expected,” he said, adding that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has expressed his concern over this possibility.

“He has directed Dr Andrew and his team of scientists to come up with recommendations to the state government on other vaccine available in the market,” Uggah said.

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