A technical error attributed to delays in postponing appointments for vaccines

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Brunei faces another bottleneck as the latest planning error causes further delays for 1,600 people waiting for appointments.

On the same day that reservations resumed for the first dose injections, the Ministry of Health reported “technical problems” in the reorganization of appointments at two vaccination sites – the Jubli Emas Bunut health center and the Brunei Darussalam university.

The health ministry issued a public apology on Thursday and said that the postponement of vaccination appointments is underway for people whose previous slots have been canceled due to the vaccine shortage.

Those affected will receive a new appointment date for the vaccine in due course, the ministry said.

The booking system has been marred by problems this year, including overbooking 4,000 vaccine appointments last month as residents rushed to get vaccinated amid Brunei’s worst COVID-19 outbreak.

A long way to go before COVID-19 becomes endemic

At a press briefing, YB Dato Health Minister Dr Hj Mohd Isham said there was still a long way to go before Brunei could treat COVID-19 as an endemic disease, adding that “proper” preparations had to be made before the community adjusted to a new reality.

He said the government aims to immunize at least 70 percent of the adult population by the end of the year, and offering vaccines to children and adolescents will further increase immunization coverage to 80 percent.

However, he said meeting the vaccination target does not mean the government will immediately ease restrictions related to COVID-19.

“We need to establish appropriate guidelines on how we can relax the restrictions,” the minister said, adding that the decrease in vaccine effectiveness should also be taken into account.

“The effectiveness of most vaccines will be reduced in eight to nine months. We have to think about [administering] booster injections.

YB Dato Health Minister Dr Hj Mohd Isham. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar / The Scoop

As of Wednesday, 33.7% of the population were fully vaccinated after receiving two vaccines.

In addition to vaccination rates, the minister said lifting restrictions would also depend on the COVID-19 situation in neighboring countries.

“Contraband routes are always a concern. It’s our weakest channel so it’s a long journey, ”said YB Dato, Dr Hj Mohd Isham.

The minister said the current outbreak is different from the first wave last year as the sultanate grapples with the most contagious Delta variant.

“I hope the public will cooperate. The more people follow the guidelines, the sooner we will reopen. “

109 new cases reported; two closed clusters

The Department of Health detected 109 additional cases of COVID-19 and identified four new household groups on Thursday.

Two clusters – the Star Lodge hotel and cluster 635 – were also closed because no new infections have been linked to the clusters for 28 days. There are now 84 active clusters.

YB Dato, Dr Hj Mohd Isham, said the emergence of new household groups will hamper efforts to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

“It is indeed worrying. It means people always go out.

“This is why we continue to stress that the public should stay at home and only go out when necessary. There are people who barbecue and so on. This is not the moment.

The number of active cases fell to 1,502 on Thursday after the discharge of 156 people in the past 24 hours.

Among the active cases, 10 are seriously ill and 25 people require close monitoring.

Correction: Sep 17, 2021

An earlier version of this article mistakenly attributed the technical problem to the BruHealth app, but the Department of Health clarified that scheduling errors by staff were the cause of a delay in rescheduling appointments. you vaccination.

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