Belait sees people rush for JE vaccine

National 1 minute, 31 seconds

BELAIT

GOVERNMENT health centres in Belait have been experiencing a surge in members of the public seeking Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccinations before heading out of the country to JE-affected Miri.

On Saturday morning, larger-than-usual numbers of people had gathered at the Kuala Belait Health Department at Jln Pandan Satu, according to health staff at the facility. Arriving hours before opening, many of them had hoped to join the queue early to get the JE vaccination before heading to Miri to spend the week-long school break there. The Malaysian Ministry of Health earlier in the month had declared JE outbreaks in several areas in neighbouring Miri, Sarawak, as reported by the Borneo Post on March 8, causing some panic and rumour-mongering on social media that Bruneians were prevented from visiting Miri without first being vaccinated against the viral infection.

According to health workers at the Belait Health Department, the swell in visitors had begun since Thursday when schools closed for the week-long break. Since then, more than 200 numbers have been issued to visitors queuing for the vaccination each morning, and about the same number came each afternoon, with Saturday seeing the highest visitors so far. Senior Health Officer at the Health Department in Belait Dr Maimunah Hj Mokim said the country had not recorded any new cases of JE since January 2014, although vaccinations continued to be available.

On March 19, the Ministry of Health, as reported in The Brunei Times, announced the availability of JE vaccinations in health and vaccination centres nationwide. The vaccination is administered to Bruneian citizens free of charge.

“Anyone aged 16 years and above can safely receive the one-time vaccination which protects for a lifetime. Those aged one to 15 years must receive the first part of a two-dose vaccination and the second part after turning 16 for the same protection,” she said.

The Brunei Times