Brunei kicks off COVID-19 national vaccination program

Sunday, 2021-04-04 14:05:20
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Brunei's Minister of Health Haji Awang Mohammad Isham (3rd L) poses for a photo with other frontliners after receiving his first jab of Sinopharm vaccine in Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of Brunei, April 3, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Brunei officially began its national vaccination program for COVID-19 at vaccination centers throughout the country on Saturday.

According to Brunei's Ministry of Health, a total of 754 people received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine injection on Saturday, including Haji Awang Mohammad Isham, Minister of Health, who received his jab of Sinopharm vaccine at the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital (RIPAS), the country's biggest public hospital with dozens of other recipients.

"We need to work together to ensure that we protect the whole country with vaccines against the COVID-19," the minister told Xinhua.

"Everyone in the country should play their part, which means everyone eligible for the vaccines should get vaccinated," he added, saying his ministry deployed Sinopharm and AstraZeneca vaccines for the first day of the national vaccination program in the country.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free for citizens and people residing in Brunei who are 18 years old and above. In the first phase, vaccine shots will be given to around 2,000 local frontliners, including health facility staff, uniformed personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, Royal Brunei Police Force, as well as those involved in quarantines and immigration post control affairs.

According to the phases outlined in Brunei's COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, COVID-19 vaccine injections will be given to frontliners for the first phase and subsequently will be extended to other groups.

"We are confident of the vaccines and it's our responsibility to get vaccinated to help achieve herd immunity in Brunei," Hajah Zanatul Aini Haji Zainin, a RIPAS pharmacist, told Xinhua after she received her jab.

Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine injection at the royal palace Istana Nurul Iman on Thursday. After the first dose injection, the Sultan has consented for the rolling-out of the national vaccination program.

According to Brunei's Ministry of Health, vaccination is the most effective measure to break the COVID-19 transmission chain. In the mid and long term, the more people receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, the higher the people's immunity against COVID-19, and in turn reduce the effects of coronavirus towards public health.

Brunei reported one new imported case of COVID-19 on Saturday, bringing the national tally to 214.

With the detection of this case, a total of 73 imported cases have been confirmed since the last local infection case on May 6, 2020. Brunei has recorded 332 days without local COVID-19 infection cases.

Brunei also reported two more recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday, with only 14 active cases remaining.

There have been three deaths and 197 recovered patients reported from COVID-19 so far in Brunei.