PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The government is looking into easing restrictions for individuals who have completed their Covid-19 vaccination including allowing them to travel interstate, says National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said a technical committee comprising health and science experts set up under the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) is reviewing the matter before it can be presented to the National Security Council (NSC).
He said the committee would consider data obtained from other countries and study the matter from a clinical aspect to determine the privilege and freedom that can be granted to those who have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19.
"For example in the United States, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has issued a guideline for fully vaccinated people, such as allowing them to remove their face masks when meeting in a room," he said.
Khairy said this during a press conference with Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz on the National Recovery Plan - Vaccination is the Key to Economic Recovery here Sunday (June 20).
Khairy, who is also Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, said individuals who have completed the Covid-19 vaccination doses will have a yellow profile on their MySejahtera application which acts as a vaccine passport that will allow them a certain degree of freedom to do things that were previously not permitted.
He said the government was also negotiating with other countries including Singapore for mutual recognition of the vaccination passport.
However, Khairy reiterated that Malaysians must continue to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set to contain the Covid-19 outbreak even if they have been fully vaccinated.
"For now, vaccination is not a substitute for the enforcement of SOPs especially in the sectors operating during the movement control order (MCO). Vaccination is very important for us to rehabilitate the country but existing SOPs such as physical distancing, wearing face masks and others must continue to be emphasised and enforced," he said.
On whether Covid-19 would become an endemic disease requiring booster shots, he said the matter was still being investigated as there were unknown issues involving the development of variants of concern (VOC) whether these variants would cause more severe infection, higher hospitalisation or fatality rates.
He said as of June 4, 1,076 genomic sequencing had been carried out to identify Covid-19 variants in Malaysia and during that period, 104 cases of beta variant (B.1.351) and nine cases of delta variant (B.1.617.2.) have been detected.
"We will perform 3, 000 genome sequencing in the next three months to improve the genomic surveillance so that we can clearly see which variants are in Malaysia.
"We will continue to do serology test to ensure that neutralising antibodies are still present in people who have been vaccinated months ago. If we see a drop in the neutralising antibodies, then we may have to decide on giving a third booster shot for these people," he said.
When asked why some vaccinated individuals still receive an appointment date, Khairy said the matter occurred because their names were filed in the manual listing and not marked as vaccinated in the MySejahtera application.
Hence, Khairy reminded all vaccination centres to ensure that the information of those who have been vaccinated is updated in the application.
On last minute appointment dates received by recipients, Khairy said it was because their names were included in the waiting list from which the vaccination centres would contact to fill up slots left vacant by those who were unable to attend.
"Despite being given a short notice, I hope those who are on this waiting list can come to get the vaccine," he said. - Bernama