PETALING JAYA: Compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) must continue even after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (pic).
The Alliance for Safe Community chairman said there was an assurance that taking the vaccine shots would eventually bring about herd immunity against Covid-19.
"But at this early stage of our national vaccination programme, it is better to make doubly sure, so this is not the time to let our guard down.
"There should be no let-up in wearing face masks, keeping physical distance and sanitising our hands," he said in a statement on Sunday (May 16).
He said countries like the United States advised citizens who have been vaccinated to discard their masks, primarily because it has been able to achieve a vaccination rate of 50%.
"In comparison, our vaccination rate is just 4%.
"This reality, coupled with the fact that our number of cases has been increasing and could reach 8,000 by next month, is sufficient for us to tighten our vigilance and be more resolute in following all the SOPs," he said, adding that there was a body of credible opinion that even after reaching herd immunity, the public cannot let its guard down.
He said good hygiene habits ingrained over the last year or so should be a permanent part of our lives.
"This is also because we still do not know everything we need to know about this invisible enemy.
“It is mutating in ways we could not predict, so we cannot afford to go back to our old ways where hygiene is concerned," he said.
He said it was a known fact that no vaccine prevents illness 100% of the time.
"Some people who are fully vaccinated can still catch the illness when exposed to the virus but the numbers are too small to be a cause for worry.
"On the question of the rate of inoculation in the country, it is reassuring to know that the second round of the AstraZeneca vaccine will open this week, and that it will be made available also to people outside the Klang Valley," he said.
He added that the public should heed the appeal by National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin that those who do not have vaccination appointments should not crowd vaccine dispensing centres.
He said they were doing so because they fear losing out.
"It is important for those who have yet to be vaccinated to first equip themselves with the facts relating to the availability of the vaccines by news from reliable sources like the broadcast and print media.
"They should do a double check on negative news from any source before they act on it, then they will be able to make informed decisions," he said, urging the public not to be deceived.