SANDAKAN: Although the vaccination registration stations in Pulau Timbang and Pulau Sanghai here were opened for more than two hours by the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) last Thursday, only 50 people turned up to register.
In realising the lukewarm response despite opening the stations at 7 am and making prior announcements regarding the programme, the CITF staff decided to change their approach — by embarking on door-to-door registrations — in order to get more vaccine recipients.
Their approach was proven to be effective as the number of residents registered for vaccination on both islands, located in the Sekong state assembly constituency, exceeded the set target.
“Until 6 pm, a total of 626 people from 13 villages in the Sekong area have successfully registered through the CITF outreach programme.
“This figure surpasses the target to register at least 200 residents in order to enable health personnel to come to the islands to administer the vaccines,” Sekong community development leader Hazulizah Md Dani told Bernama.
She said the unit, as well as the Sandakan Area Health Office and the Information Department, found that most of the residents were afraid of needles and complications after being vaccinated because they were influenced by rumours or fake news.
“But Alhamdulillah, after receiving information, many became confident to take the vaccine and agreed to register immediately,” she added.
Sandakan Health Promotion officer Joumil Ekim said achieving the target of vaccination registration would enable his team to come to the islands to inoculate the residents.
In the meantime, former Sekong state assemblyman Datuk Samsudin Yahya who participated in the programme said he himself had been vaccinated and wanted to help the CITF explain the benefits of vaccination to the residents.
Meanwhile, Kampung Tronglit village head Lajim Sumadin and some residents also went to all 54 houses in the village to explain the benefits of receiving the vaccines.
“I use my own experience of getting vaccinated to convince the villagers to register,” said Lajim, who has now managed to convince over 150 villagers to register as vaccine recipients.