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Friday, July 30, 2021

Only mild symptoms for fully vaccinated frontliners, says ministry

 

Of the 246,242 health ministry employees who were fully vaccinated, only 4,761 of them were infected, and none were treated as Category 5 patients in the ICU.

KUALA LUMPUR: Most fully vaccinated frontliners at health facilities showed no symptoms (Category 1) or just mild symptoms (Category 2) when they were infected with Covid-19, said deputy director-general of health (research and technical support) Dr Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim.

To date, he said 4,761 out of 246,242 health ministry employees who were fully vaccinated had been infected with the virus.

However, he said, only eight staff were in Category 3 and three were in Category 4, while none were treated as Category 5 patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).

“These staff work in conditions where the risk of infection is very high, so the infection can still occur even after they have completed both doses of the vaccine.

“The only difference is that the complete vaccination of these health workers who are exposed to infections daily can protect them from getting seriously ill,” he said during a virtual presentation on Covid-19 vaccines with the media.

Hishamshah said a total of 1,494 staff were in Category 1 while 3,256 were in Category 2.

“We want the same situation for all the people … if vaccinated people get infected with the Covid-19 virus, they will be protected from getting serious disease,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said Labuan, which had previously recorded a high number of Covid-19 positive cases, now saw only two patients in ICU after the vaccination process in the federal territory was ramped up.

“We saw the same trend in Sarawak where currently fewer patients are being admitted to the ICU and its vaccination rate is coming up,” he said.

He also hinted that some leeway, including interstate travel, would be given if the country managed to achieve herd immunity, which is expected in October.

Hishamshah said the country needs to return to normalcy, where the people can move around, regain their livelihood and socially interact amidst new norms, adding that this would be only possible if Malaysia’s vaccination rate is high.

However, he said the number of new cases would not drop sharply and would remain constant for the next several days, but believes that with increasing vaccination rates and the people’s adherence to SOPs, the Covid-19 infection chain would be broken.

Hishamshah also said the ministry was developing its own vaccine so that it would not have to depend on vaccines produced by foreign countries.

“Currently, the country is developing two types of Covid-19 vaccine using messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology and the inactivated virus technology at the Institute for Medical Research,” he said.

Hishamshah said the ministry expects the country to achieve a vaccination rate of 40% for the first dose within this week.

He said it was based on the enhanced and strengthened vaccination capacity so that more than 500,000 doses could be administered nationwide in a day.

“We can say that we have done relatively well.

“We need (to) also acknowledge that early on the national Covid-19 immunisation programme (PICK) we were a bit slow but it’s not because of our hesitancy to vaccinate but it’s because of supply issues at the time.

“Even now the vaccine supply is very much inadequate for the whole world.

“However, if you compare Malaysia and our neighbours and also the rest of the world now, including Australia and Japan in terms of vaccination rates per capita, the recent Our World in Data website shows the rates in Malaysia are actually the highest,” he said. - FMT

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