MIRI, May 28 ― Hesitancy in receiving the vaccine and shortcomings in the MySejahtera app for registration could derail the goal of achieving herd community in Baram, said Assistant Minster of Local Government and Housing Datu Dr Penguang Manggil.
As of May 21, Miri Division recorded only 61 per cent in registration for the Covid-19 immunisation programme, with lower uptake in the rural areas compared to urban areas.
“Progress is not good ― the registration in Marudi district, including Mulu, is 37.25 per cent while it is 48.79 per cent in Beluru district,” the Marudi assemblyman told The Borneo Post when asked on the status of registration in the rural areas.
According to 2020 census, Miri Division has a population of 433,800 and the target is to have at least 70 per cent of the population to be vaccinated to attain herd immunity.
Miri district has been classified as a red zone since Jan 11 this year, being among the top three most infected districts in the past week, while Marudi has returned to green zone this week.
Dr Penguang said hesitancy and manual registration in rural areas through the respective district offices or rural clinics are contributing to these low registration figures.
“Negative issues spun through social media about the vaccination also play a big role in causing hesitancy among certain groups or communities to register,” he added.
In his Marudi constituency, registration campaign is carried out by longhouse and village chiefs together with councillors and community leaders.
Meanwhile, he urged the health authorities to persuade all unregistered immigrant workers to go for vaccination to attain herd immunity in the community as there are many oil plantation estates and smallholdings in Marudi, Telang Usan and Beluru districts which employ foreign workers.
Miri MP Dr Michael Teo Yu Keng last week called on the authorities to rope in the private hospital and clinics to help expedite vaccination in rural areas, saying the Ministry of Health would not be able to pull it off alone.
He suggested that the vaccination exercise be carried out in small towns or designated locations by mobile teams where employers can help foot the bill for their workers.
Dr Teo said the illegal workers would flee if they catch wind of vaccination by teams from the government at their locations for fear of arrest and deportation. ― Borneo Post