KUCHING, June 14 — The authorities must put in place contingency plans at Covid-19 vaccination centres to deal with eventualities such as a power outage, said Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.
He said the blackout at the centre at Stadium Perpaduan here today, which led to overcrowding, showed a lack of planning and foresight in implementing the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
“I’m quite disappointed with the handling of the congestion and the crowd today. They (the authorities) aim to push the daily vaccine doses up to 4,000, and if no extra preparation is done, we will see even more congestion, like what is happening today,” he told The Borneo Post.
Dr Yii, who had visited the stadium after the blackout today, said the stadium was equally congested during his visit yesterday when the target was above 2,000 vaccinations and this had been pushed up to 4,000 today.
He said more planning must be put in place for all eventualities.
He opined that the absence of a back-up generator in the stadium to cope with the power outage was among the issues that the authorities had to look into.
“There has been no clear instruction to those who have missed their appointments not by choice, like today’s blackout at the stadium.
“If they miss their appointments, how and when can they get the vaccine next? What’s the nearest date? This has to be done immediately, not delayed another week and scheduled again,” he said.
Dr Yii said he and his team were on the spot to distribute drinking water to the public, especially the elderly who had been waiting in the sun.
“We see the elderly being made to queue in the sun, and also receive reports that some have fainted due to heat and dehydration.
“So we distribute mineral water to the elderly but half-way doing this we were stopped by the police who told me that they received instructions that we are not allowed to distribute water. To me, we are just playing our part to help, this is not about politics,” he said.
He also said standard operating procedures (SOP) compliance was lacking at the stadium and he feared that the congestion might lead to the emergence of another Covid-19 cluster.
“Worst case scenario is we may have asymptomatic patients among the crowd which can be very worrying since a lot of them here are elderly and are in the high-risk group.”
Dr Yii said clear instruction should have been given to those queuing after the power outage occurred, so that they would not queue in the sun for nothing
“We should have a comprehensive back-up plan and one of the long-term moves is to open up more PPVs, decentralise the congestion at the stadium.
“BCCK should be converted into a hybrid PPV rather than just for administering the AstraZeneca vaccine. BCCK can take part of the congestion from the stadium,” he added.
The Borneo Post had contacted the Ministry of Local Government and Housing’s Public Health Section Head Dr Cheong Yaw Liang, who confirmed that the congestion at the stadium was due to the power outage.
He also said some people had gone to the stadium much too early for their scheduled vaccination time. — Borneo Post Online