Herd Immunity Can Be Achieved if Sabah Vaccinates 60,000 People Daily
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Following the statement released by The Right Honourable Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor on Monday, the Sabah Housing And Real Estate Developers Association (SHAREDA) concurs the goal to expedite the vaccine supply in Sabah to 30,000 vaccinations a day.
The Only Way to Recover
“Vaccination is the only path to economic recovery,” Datuk Chua Soon Ping, President of SHAREDA says.
According to the Chief Minister’s statement, Sabah has been pushing for 60 per cent of the population to be vaccinated by October 2021 to allow sectors that were badly affected by the pandemic to re-open, such as the tourism industry. Once a majority of the population is vaccinated, the economy will start to blossom again, starting with domestic travel and eventually, foreign visitors will follow.
“With the arrival of new doses, we hope to intensify the vaccine administration rate from the current 12,000 a day to double the number so that we can achieve herd immunity by the end of this year,” the Chief Minister said at a press conference on Tuesday.
“Our economy relies heavily on tourism, and tourism can only come back when a majority of our population is vaccinated. Upon achieving herd immunity, domestic tourism will pick up very fast, followed by international arrival” says Datuk Chua.
Looking at the current situation in USA and China, both countries have successfully flattened the curve with massive vaccination carried out to the vast population. According to The New York Times, USA has 47.5% of its entire population fully vaccinated (or almost 70% adults age 18+ have received their first dose). Online news portals are showing massive celebrations on the recent 4th of July Independence Day with people not wearing masks anymore.
On the other hand, South China Morning Post reported that China has vaccinated 40% of its entire population by end of June 2021. They too have just held massive celebrations across the nation for the 100th year of the communist party.
“Both of these countries once had Covid cases worse than us, but it is evident that with quick vaccination to the masses, life can really go back to the normal,” says Datuk Chua.
Call To Double Up The Daily Doses
Our neighbouring state Sarawak is aiming to vaccinate 65,000 people daily, as mentioned by Sarawak Deputy CM Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
As such, Datuk Chua proposes Sabah state government to also double up the daily vaccination rate to 60,000 per day.
“Micro SMEs across the country are collapsing and 7 million could lose their jobs if we don’t prioritise accelerating the rate of vaccinations in Sabah,” Datuk Chua urged.
In order to achieve a faster vaccination rate, all 3 major parties need to take up the responsibility:
- Ministry of Health (vaccination through hospitals)
- Public-private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (PIKAS)
- Construction Industry Vaccination Program (CIVAC)
With the participation of PIKAS and CIVAC, the industry community can start receiving vaccination early, particularly the construction and development industry.
Datuk Masidi Manjun has announced today that Sabah will receive an additional 300,000 doses of vaccines by this month, July 2021. Datuk Chua commends such progress and hopes for fast and efficient distribution to the public. The 3 major parties mentioned must work together to speed up the vaccine administration.
Why is 30,000 not enough?
While there is an urgency to accelerate the doses administered in Sabah, a news source has reported that the vaccination progress has not been consistent and has in fact slowed down significantly over the past two weeks, as shown in the following graph.
Source: See Hua
With this in mind, Datuk Chua has taken the initiative to calculate just how long it will actually take for Sabah to be fully-vaccinated.
Based on a population of 3,910,000 in Sabah, his calculation shows that by doubling the daily doses from 30,000 to 60,000 a day, just as Sarawak has, Sabah could speed up the process and reach its target 3 months earlier.
His calculation based on current 30,000 daily doses:
(of which 20,000 is 1st dose, 10,000 is 2nd dose)
20,000 1st doses per day x 5 days = 100,000 doses per week
100,000 x 4 weeks = 400,000 doses per month
According to this rate, we can only complete the first dose by March 2022, and subsequently the second dose by June 2022. This seems to be too slow.
Datuk Chua proposes 60,000 daily doses based on the calculation:
(of which 40,000 is 1st dose, 20,000 is 2nd dose)
40,000 1st dose per day x 5 days = 200,000 doses per week
200,000 x 4 weeks = 800,000 per month
According to this rate, we can complete the first round of doses by November 2021, and subsequently the second dose by March 2022 for the entire population in Sabah.
“The federal government must allocate more vaccines to be delivered to Sabah immediately as our state has already fallen behind the schedule, and to-date Sabah is the state with the lowest percentage of vaccinated population.”
“We hope the government will speed up the delivery as well as ensure fast and efficient distribution of vaccine throughout the state so more people can receive the vaccination.” Datuk Chua concluded.
The state economy and livelihood of the majority of Sabahans depends on this decision. With the attention and cooperation with the Ministry of Health, PIKAS and CIVAC, Sabah can reach herd immunity faster and recover even stronger.