BELAIT – One hundred rural residents have received their COVID-19 jabs on the first day of vaccination services at Labi Health Centre on Monday.

The clinic is the first to offer vaccination services in rural areas to ensure residents in remote areas have access to COVID-19 vaccines, including those with mobility issues.

Head of Belait’s Primary Health Care Services Dr Hj Mohd Elham Hj Mohd Ismail said a target was set to administer 100 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines daily, but this would be reviewed depending on the demand.

On Monday, 65 people booked vaccination appointments, while other slots were reserved for walk-ins.

“We don’t want to do too many because of the small space [in the clinic] and we want to avoid overcrowding,” he said in an interview with The Scoop.

He added that they have identified 200 people who need to be vaccinated based on figures from village heads and penghulu.

Head of Belait’s Primary Health Care Services Dr Hj Mohd Elham Hj Mohd Ismail spoke to The Scoop in an interview. Photo: Ain Bandial/The Scoop

Residents were informed by grassroots leaders last week that MoH would be offering vaccination services at the clinic.

Health minister YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham Hj Jaafar on Sunday said there may be around 500 people, including foreigners residing in the area who have not received their jabs.

Dr Hj Elham said, “Even with the 200 who have given their names to their village heads and penghulu for appointments, there are still those who walk in. We try to accommodate as many as we can with the limited space that we have here”.

Most of the individuals who went for walk-ins were foreign workers in the agriculture and construction sectors, he added.

The clinic is open for vaccinations from 9am to 3pm from October 11-13 for residents of Mukim Labi, Mukim Bukit Sawat and its surrounding areas.

Mobile vaccination team deployed to inoculate vulnerable groups

A mobile vaccination team, assisted by police and military personnel, will also be going to the houses of residents who are bed-bound or unable to visit the centre.

Five people have requested for the mobile vaccination service so far.

Police help an elderly man get into his car after getting his COVID-19 jab at the Labi Health Centre on October 11, 2021. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

Asked if there is a possibility of extending the vaccination service beyond October 13, Dr Hj Mohd Elham said, “Alhamdulillah, the response is very encouraging this morning.

Most of the patients came. If we are not able to finish [vaccinating] everyone by Wednesday, we will extend it”.

He said some residents are not technologically savvy in booking appointments online, thus the need to provide walk-in services.

“We’ve seen a few elderly who can’t write so we have to fill in the forms for them, but the good thing about Bruneians is that we have extended families who are always around [to help].

“The village heads and penghulu are quite good and they keep track of all the vulnerable people,” he added.

Personnel from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces will also be bringing over 20 people who have transport problems to the clinic on Tuesday for their vaccination.

A man registers for COVID-19 vaccination at the Labi Health Centre. Photo: Ain Bandial/The Scoop

Noryanto, an Indonesian national working at a construction company in Labi, was one of the 100 people who received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine at the clinic on Monday.

“I wanted to get vaccinated at KB Hospital but was not able to do so because I have problem with my BruHealth,” the 34-year-old said.

Noryanto, who went to the clinic with his colleagues, said his employer informed them of the walk-in vaccination service at Labi Health Centre.

“Our employer would update us on the number of new cases and other COVID-19 news, and then we will go back to work,” he said, adding that he is not scared of being infected with COVID-19 as long as he follows guidelines such as wearing face masks.