It is vital we increase vaccination registration numbers


“THERE is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune” – from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. In today’s parlance, it means we must strike while the iron is hot.

Today we are facing a pandemic the likes of which most of us have never seen or experienced. All of us, without exception, have to face Covid-19. To face it is to find ways to curtail its spread. And the most effective way currently available to do this is through vaccination.

We need at least 80% of the people within our borders to be vaccinated before we can achieve herd immunity, which Malaysia hopes to do by December. However, this objective is only achievable if enough people register for vaccination. So far, only a little less than 10% of the population have registered.

This is an appeal to the rest to quickly register so that we can all have a chance of returning to some semblance of our previous way of life.

It has been reported that some are reluctant to be vaccinated because of concerns over the safety of some of the vaccines, especially their side effects. When the concerns are consistent, as in the case of the AstraZeneca vaccine, it must be noted that Malaysia has not yet used that vaccine, and an assurance has been given that it will be considered only after a complete review is undertaken (“Government to review AstraZeneca vaccine use”, The Star, April 10; online at bit.ly/star_astra).

We must remember that, unlike all the previous cases of viral pandemics that the world has experienced, this time around there have been precautions taken like never before, testing done like never before, documentation and peer reviews like never before, and public debate like never before. We must also remember that the vaccines are available as never before.

We must all, therefore, strike while the iron is hot.

To complete the Shakespeare quotation: “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

Should vaccination be made mandatory?

Mandatory vaccination can be an option if the number of registrations does not add up to the level needed to achieve herd immunity. It should be the last resort. I maintain that voluntary registration is still the ideal situation, reflecting people’s will to stand united to defeat Covid-19.

The best way to allay fears is to engage and educate people. The government can do this with constant, consistent and well-arti-

culated messages that are disseminated quickly to the public. Share information fully in a timely fashion. Building trust is vital to the success of the immunisation drive.

The traditional media can play a pivotal role too. Ask readers to write in with their concerns and get authoritative medical figures to address them in the media. This can spark robust public discussion that will soon ensure that everybody is on the same page where the eradication of the coronavirus is concerned.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE , Chairman, Alliance For Safe a Community

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Covid-19 , vaccination , herd immunity

   

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