Overcrowding, long waits at some vaccination centres in Sabah

Senior citizens reportedly queued for almost two hours in a crowded space to receive the second dose of the vaccine. — Borneo Post Online pic
Senior citizens reportedly queued for almost two hours in a crowded space to receive the second dose of the vaccine. — Borneo Post Online pic

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KOTA KINABALU, May 17 — Vaccine receivers scheduled to receive their Covid-19 vaccine today complained of poor coordination at vaccination centres which led to overcrowding and long waits.

Receivers, most of which comprised senior citizens, were seen crowding outside vaccination centres while waiting for their turn. They were also seemingly “competing” for a spot as first come, first served priority was given instead of maintaining appointment time slots.

A reporter on the ground at the Penampang Cultural Centre observed that there was no social distancing as the space could not accommodate the crowd, and personnel on duty failed to coordinate the large number of people.

From the lack of coordination, it seemed vaccination centres were not prepared to receive a high volume of people despite having data on registered vaccine takers.

“The system today is flawed,” said Wati Ali, who accompanied her 80-year-old mother for the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Penampang Cultural Centre.

“The inside (of the centre) is good, it is more coordinated. But the outside is disorganised. There are not enough volunteers today compared to when I came with my mother for her first dose.

“We arrived before 9am, just before the centre started admitting people, but we were sat at the wrong place and nobody told us until I asked. I moved my mother and asked other senior citizens to move as well.

“The centre admitted people not based on number or appointment time, but on a first come, first served basis. Although we were early, the queue was already long and people continued to arrive,” said Wati.

She also suggested to have more People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) members on duty to better coordinate flow of people, to match the data on vaccine takers expected to turn up.

Wati further said she understood the strain of having to organise a crowd, but urged that consideration and more sensitivity be given to senior citizens, especially since some of them turn up alone at vaccination centres.

Meanwhile, Kota Kinabalu member of parliament Chan Foong Hin took to Facebook with similar information from the Federal Administrative Complex Multipurpose Hall, which was earmarked as the vaccination centre for Kota Kinabalu.

He posted photos and videos of senior citizens seen crowding outside the vaccination centre as they waited to be admitted. Along with the visuals were a description of the situation.

“I received this video and photos from a complainer about the situation there this morning.

“Today is the second dose vaccination date for senior citizens. According to the complainer, senior citizens queued up for one and a half hour there.

“I have forwarded these to Sabah Health Department director and asked for actions taken to rectify this. Overcrowding in front of vaccination hall would defeat the purpose of avoiding virus spreading,” he wrote. —  Borneo Post Online

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