KOTA KINABALU, Oct 11 — Despite the active efforts of the health authorities, the state is still struggling to catch up to the national vaccination average, due to high movement of citizens and residents among other reasons.
Community Development and People Well-being Minister Shahelmey Yahya said that five districts including Tawau and Sandakan were still “stand alone districts” with restricted movement to other districts as most other districts have reached the 60 per cent vaccination among its adult threshold to be allowed regional movement.
“The districts are Kinabatangan, Sandakan, Tongod, Tawau and Papar which are still below 60 per cent vaccinated while Papar is expected to reach the 60 per cent very soon,” he said.
Asked why the urban town areas of Sandakan and Tawau are unable to reach the target, he said that among the reasons were that the foreign residents in the towns had likely left the country, leaving a gap in the statistics.
“One of the reasons is the movement of people. Some of the people included in the two districts’ statistics may not live in the districts during this present vaccination exercise. They may be working outside the districts but their data still count them as residents of the districts while foreigners may have already gone back to their own countries,” he said.
Another example of the movement he said was when the state Health Department’s outreach programme into a remote settlement village in Sandakan discovered that most of the villagers had already received their vaccination.
“The settlement had an estimated 5,000 adult population but the authorities said that only some 152 people were vaccinated with Pfizer and 98 Cansino. The rest of the population mostly have received their vaccines,” he said.
That was probably an indication that many residents in the town areas have been vaccinated,” he added.
Shahelmy admitted there was also a small number of the population who were unwilling to get vaccinated.
Out of some 26 districts in Sabah, five districts are still below 60 per cent completion of dose two for adults
Sabah registered some 69.4 per cent vaccination rate as of October 9, far below the 90 per cent national rate that was the yardstick to allow interstate travel.
The state cabinet will decide Wednesday on whether to allow interstate travel. The state has instead adopted a zoning system that groups several districts together to spur economic activity.