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Call to extend grace period for fully vaccinated requirement

0 month ago, 24-Aug-2021

Chan Boon Thian

SANDAKAN: The State Government has been urged to extend the September 15 grace period for the fully vaccinated requirement under its updated Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedure.

While acknowledging the updated SOP is good, Sandakan Health Clinic Advisory Panel chairman Chan Boon Thian pointed out based on feedback he obtained many employers and businesses, particularly those in Sandakan, have yet to get their workers fully inoculated.

Unlike other states in Peninsular Malaysia where employees of large companies are vaccinated under the PIKAS(public-private partnership vaccination) programme, those in Sabah are experiencing difficulties to arrange for the hundreds of workers to receive even the first dose of vaccination because the programme has not been extended to Sabah.

The grace period for the fully vaccinated requirement is too short and leaves many employers in a quandary due to the considerably large number of non-local workers they hired, Chan said.

In the absence of programmes like PIKAS, employers here have problem getting their non-local workers vaccinated taking into account many still do not have smartphones and required documents, Chan said.

While for those who managed to register for vaccination through MySejahtera, they have yet to receive the appointment date and the walk-in vaccination centres currently are only for Malaysians, he added.

Chan said even if these non-local workers are to receive their first dose of vaccination in the coming days, employers still could not meet the deadline of the grace period as their workers are not fully vaccinated.

The other alternative of paying for the vaccinations in private clinics for the workers was hampered by insufficient vaccines, Chan said.

He hoped the State Government would extend the deadline of the grace period until these issues were being looked into or many such companies would not be able to continue their operations after Sept 15.

State Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun had in a statement on Aug 16 announced Sabah’s construction, manufacturing, mining and quarry sectors (essential and non-essential) with at least 80% of their workers vaccinated against Covid-19 are allowed to be fully operational.

Businesses categorised as trade and distribution services are allowed to operate, including shops selling sports equipment, clothes and accessories, jewellery, photography, handicraft and souvenir shops, antique shops, toy stores, carpet stores, creative items stores, skincare and perfumery, outdoor gear stores and tobacco stores, Masidi added.

Masidi who is also Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister, said these sub-sectors mentioned can operate on condition that all customers and workers must have received at least their first vaccine dose and are required to be fully immunised by Sept 15.

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