The Coordinating Minister for National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, Khairy Jamaluddin has refuted claims that Malaysia’s vaccination rate was slow despite having sufficient vaccine supply.
According to the latest data by the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF), 1,144,841 individuals who have been inoculated including the first and second dose.
“Putrajaya understands the people’s concerns, but they will still have to stick to their scheduled turns and phases.
“As informed before this, everyone must wait for their turn as scheduled as how the first phase was for the frontliners, the second is for senior citizens and so forth. We have to stick to the phases according to the respective categories,” he said.
Meanwhile, MOSTI has explained that the Covid-19 vaccine recipients can still be infected by the virus however at a far lower rate and without any chronic symptoms.
“The main purpose of the Covid-19 vaccine is to reduce chronic symptoms of Covid-19, protect us from casualties, and to reduce the use of intense care units (ICU) and ventilators. Thus, reducing the load of our healthcare system,” he added.
BusinessToday spoke with Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s Consultant Clinical Immunologist/Allergist (Adults and Paediatrics) of the Allergy and Immunology Centre, Dr. Amir Hamzah Abdul Latiff about the recent issues on the vaccination process in Malaysia.
“What is said by Khairy is absolutely correct. We need to educate the public on this fact endlessly and reassure that the Covid-19 vaccines can prevent mortality and serious morbidity.
“The whole reason that we embarked on a vaccination program for Covid-19 was that Covid-19 could cause serious disease, hospitalisation, and death. The Covid-19 vaccines available are shown to be effective in preventing death, hospitalisation, and serious disease,” he emphasised.
Dr. Amir described the current vaccination programme to be similar to previous programmes the country had carried out.
“It is commendable that MoH is highlighting the situation as they are transparent with the information, but the messaging needs to be correct and reassuring,” he said, in reference to the 40 MoH healthcare workers that were infected by Covid-19.
“The 40 cases are not unexpected and should not be a major concern at all as these are probably mild, asymptomatic, or could have been picked up via contact tracing.
“It is all about the messaging and hence the media plays a major role in reporting the news in its proper context and perspective. This will avoid any misinformation and misgivings on what a crucial strategy is to work our way out of this outbreak,” Dr. Amir Latiff said.
A recent viral tweet shows that Malaysia’s vaccination period to reach herd immunity will take at least 4.9 years with the current rate now based on Bloomberg’s calculation.
Dr. Amir believes that the public currently needs reassurances at this point of time. Additionally, aggressive public health campaigns are needed to allay the fears and all those who have registered be vaccinated quickly as per available supply.
“There should be almost no distinction between the timeline when phase two ends and phase three begins at this stage. Once 30 percent of those above 60 years and those with co-morbid diseases are vaccinated, start the vaccinations for phase three,” Dr Amir urged.