KUCHING (Feb 26): Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers in Sarawak will be excluded from the Covid-19 vaccination programme in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation, said State Health Director Dr Chin Zin Hing.
The National Covid-19 Immunisation Guideline indicates that the vaccine is safe for a majority of the population, but a few groups will be excluded for the time being, he told The Borneo Post.
Excluded from the vaccination programme are individuals with a history of severe allergies, individuals found positive with the Covid-19 virus and individuals with immune system complications, he added.
On top of that, WHO also does not recommend that pregnant women be vaccinated at this time as WHO still does not have sufficient data regarding this group, he stressed.
“According to WHO, pregnant women are at higher risk of severe Covid-19 than non-pregnant women and that Covid-19 has been associated with an increased risk of pre-term birth. Also, we only have limited data on whether the vaccine is safe for foetus,” he said.
Dr Chin also pointed out that the vaccine will not be given to those who are currently getting treatment for Covid-19.
“Vaccine will not be given to patients who are being treated for Covid-19. They will be given the vaccine in Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the vaccination programme after their discharge.”
The vaccine is safe and effective in people with various conditions that are associated with increased risk of severe disease and this include those having hypertension, diabetes, asthma, pulmonary, liver or kidney disease and chronic infections that are stable and controlled.
However, the Ministry of Health will be updating the State Health authority from time to time on the contraindications, he said.
The state’s first phase of the rollout plan for immunisation starting this Saturday (Feb 27) will target 97,000 frontliners made up of mostly medical, police and army personnel.
The launch will be held at the Perpaduan Indoor Stadium, Petra Jaya here at 10am tomorrow (Saturday).
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Housing and Local Government Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian and Dr Chin will be administered with the vaccine today at 3pm at the Petra Jaya Health Clinic.
The vaccination programme will target 2.2 million Sarawakians and is expected to be completed by August 2021, ahead of the national plan in February 2022.