KUCHING, Aug 6 ― Ninety per cent of individuals eligible for Covid-19 vaccination across Sarawak are expected to be fully vaccinated by the end of this month, said Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

The State Disaster Management Committee advisor said “vaccines wait for people in Sarawak” unlike in Peninsular Malaysia where the community had to fight for a dose.

“We have asked the Sarawak Covid-19 Advisory Group (Scovag) to look into which vaccine is the best for those aged between 12 and 18. Sarawak has about 40,000 for each (of these) age (groups).

“Scovag will also study the need for a third booster dose. The earliest that we can expect this booster is October and active planning is needed,” Dr Sim told a news conference after symbolically handing out  Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) 6.0 to hawkers registered with the local authorities at the Kenyalang Market here today.

Some 60,000 hawkers and petty traders, including coffee shop stall operators, will receive the RM1,500 aid in two tranches — half this month and the remainder in December.

Dr Sim said Sarawak started opening up economic activities last month and this month it is focusing on guiding the community on how to live with Covid-19.

He said the virus cannot be eliminated and everyone must take responsibility instead of waiting for official instructions.

“If you are not sure and feel that you have been infected, go for a test at the Covid-19 One Stop Centre at MBKS Dewan Masyarakat, which is free, and isolate yourself rather than going around with the risk of spreading the virus.

“More variants are coming. This virus mutates and if people don’t change, we will be shot by the virus. Vaccination in Sarawak is fast and it brings down the fatality rate,” he pointed out.

He said less than 8 per cent of infections in Sarawak fell under Categories 3 to 5, including the need for ventilators, while Categories 1 and 2 were those with no symptoms or mild symptoms.

The Local Government and Housing minister added that 65 per cent of the state’s total infections were asymptomatic, while 35 per cent of cases showed mild symptoms.

Dr Sim advised the people not to panic but to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP), adding that Sarawak does not appreciate politicians who know nothing but politicking.

“They just want publicity, but they should not mislead the people. It’s not easy to diagnose Delta variant and the virus keeps on mutating.

“We don’t know the clinical significance yet but we thank Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) for doing testing so as to help us formulate policies.

“This war against Covid-19 is unlike World War II, which destroyed houses. This Covid-19 war destroys homes because it claims lives, but the physical buildings are still there. Our hospital system is also destroyed,” he said.

Dr Sim said walk-in vaccinations will continue to be made available for Sarawakians.

On the BKSS 6.0 aid for hawkers and petty traders, Dr Sim admitted there was a technical delay as the first half was supposed to be paid through Sarawak Pay last month.

“But it has started in August. This time, we have extended the aid to stall operators at kopitiam. We help the B40 and everyone without the need to touch our state’s reserves,” he said. ― Borneo Post