COVAX vaccine to arrive in Brunei this month

Rokiah Mahmud

The Brunei Darussalam government received about 52,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine provided by the People’s Republic of China to inoculate around 26,000 individuals, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said yesterday.

He said the Ministry of Health is conducting technical assessment, particularly on the content of the dose as well its components.

Once the technical assessment is completed, the ministry will conduct a vaccination drive, the minister said in a press conference.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said the country will also receive 10 per cent of the COVAX vaccine according to the World Health Organization (WHO) agreement while another five per cent will be available via a bilateral agreement.

“The COVAX vaccine is expected to arrive in the Sultanate sometime this month,” he added.

“Healthcare workers and frontliners including those on duty at the borders, uniformed personnel and crew as well as senior citizens aged above 60 will be included in the first phase,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said. “Teachers will receive the vaccine under the second phase while the public will be included in the third phase.”

The minister said once the vaccine arrives in the country, details on how to book a slot via BruHealth will be revealed.

Responding to a question regarding vaccination for Brunei students who are overseas, the minister said most countries are offering the vaccine for students in the country they are studying.

Citing the United Kingdom as an example, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said the vaccine is prioritised for the elderly aged 50 to 70.

“A person in his 20s may not be vaccinated. However, we encourage the students to get the vaccine. If this is not possible, they could get inoculated once they return to Brunei,” he said.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar. PHOTO: AZIZ IDRIS