Covid-19: Time to stop using 'herd immunity' term, says KJ

KUALA LUMPUR: The widespread transmission of the Delta variant is one of the reasons why the term "herd immunity" should not be used during the Covid-19 pandemic, says Khairy Jamaluddin.

The Health Minister said vaccinating youths under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is important as the aim now is to achieve the "broadest coverage" of vaccination.

"I don't use the herd immunity term anymore. When vaccination was started, we used a conventional formula to calculate herd immunity.

"But that was before the Delta variant was widespread. Delta has thrown out the herd immunity calculation and it is difficult to say when we can get herd immunity.

"So we don't look at herd immunity anymore. We look at the broadest coverage of vaccination as possible.

"That is why the immunisation programme for youths is important. Because it isn't enough for 80% of adults to receive vaccines while children are unvaccinated," he said during his winding-up speech on the Royal Address in Parliament on Thursday (Sept 23).

Meanwhile, Charles Santiago (PH-Klang) interjected and asked Khairy how does the government intend to monitor undocumented migrants infected with Covid-19.

"We don't even know the number of undocumented workers in the country," he added.

In response, Khairy said the government will review its methods to monitor migrant workers who contract Covid-19.

Khairy also said the current practice of entrusting employers to isolate and monitor infected workers, who display mild Covid-19 symptoms and do not require hospitalisation, was ineffective.

"In terms of compliance, it isn't clear whether the employers had followed it," he said.

Khairy added that it is unacceptable for workplace clusters to still emerge in residential areas at present.

"I will look into this issue seriously. This is a blindspot that continues to contribute to cases," he said.

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