It’s business as usual for vaccination plan

Keeping the distance: People queuing to get vaccinated at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre in Kuala Lumpur. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 vaccination programme and related healthcare services remain intact amid the current political situation, according to the Health Ministry (MOH) and the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti).

MOH secretary-general Datuk Mohd Shafiq Abdullah and Mosti secretary-general Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir said strategic measures to steer the country out of the pandemic would proceed.“MOH will continue implementing strategic measures that have already been planned to optimise public healthcare services in the whole country.

“In the Klang Valley, the Greater Klang Valley Special Task Force will continue its focus on logistical efforts, Covid-19 Assessment Centres, home quarantine, and ensuring the proper functioning of a social support system for frontliners,” they said in a joint statement yesterday.

The Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme headed by Mosti is on the right track to achieve the targeted population-level immunity by October.

“As of Aug 16, the proportion of the adult population in Malaysia that had completed their vaccination reached 47.2% while more than 73% received at least one dose.

“To date, more than 28 million doses of vaccines had been administered in Malaysia.

“The vaccination momentum remains consistent where 501,776 doses were administered on Aug 16,” they said.

The Klang Valley, Sarawak, Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Labuan, and Perlis had at least 40% of their adult population vaccinated.

Penang, Terengganu, Perak, Pahang, and Kedah have reached a vaccination coverage of 30% to 39%, while Kelantan, Johor, and Sabah have 20% to 29% of their adult population vaccinated.

“Even so, taking into account the scheduling of the vaccine delivery this month, all states are targeted to meet the threshold vaccination rate by the end of August,” the two secretaries-general said.

They added that the authorities have also secured the procurement of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines with 33,879,979 doses distributed as of Aug 16.

The vaccines, they added, had been effective in bringing down infection rates and reducing the number of severe Covid-19 cases.“Out of 19,740 new cases reported on Aug 16, only 1.5% of the cases are classified as Categories 3 to 5, which are those who need close medical attention due to lung infection, and oxygen and ventilator requirements.

“The majority of daily cases (85.13%) belong to Categories 1 and 2, which are those who do not have symptoms or have light symptoms.

“After the implementation of Operation Surge Capacity in the Klang Valley, there has been a decrease in hospital admissions and bed usage at the ICU (intensive care unit).

“At Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah in Klang, the number of daily patient admissions dropped by 50% from a week ago.

“We see the same in Pahang, where the numbers of those in Categories 3, 4, and 5 have started to drop,” they said.

Daily cases, they added, have also seen a drop in Sarawak and Labuan as a result of high vaccination coverage, with Labuan recording no cases on Aug 14.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the vaccination programme and healthcare services would not be derailed, even with the current political developments.

“It will not be disrupted, and in fact will be continued and scaled up further,” he said in a brief message to The Star.

Dr Noor Hisham also said that MOH data has shown the vaccines to be effective in reducing the severity of infections and number of deaths.

“Among the overall 12,993 deaths recorded, 80 cases had been partially vaccinated (0.6%) and four cases had full vaccination (0.03%),” he said.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali had said that the day-to-day administration of the civil service would not be disrupted by the resignation of the prime minister.

Vaccine recipients in the Klang Valley said the immunisation programme did not appear to be affected by recent political developments.

Sarah Ng, who went for her second dose at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday, said everyone, from the enforcement personnel such as police and Rela stationed outside the vaccination centre to the volunteers inside, were courteous, helpful and attentive.

“The process for my second jab was much faster than the first. Although some directions and the crowd control flow had changed, the signage was clear and prominent.

“When inside, I progressed from one checkpoint to the next seamlessly with sufficient reminders and guidance from the volunteers,” said the marketing associate who is in her 30s, adding that the whole process took only 15 minutes.

A man, who only wanted to be known as Chow, said he was surprised by how fast and efficient the vaccination process was.

“It showed that the vaccination programme isn’t affected by politics at all.

“There were ample parking spaces and it was not too crowded to the point that we had to stand closely to each other.

“Everyone has enough space and the nurses and doctors are really friendly,” he said, urging people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

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