Children and adolescents aged 18 years and below plus individuals with immune system problems will not be given the Covid-19 vaccine as herd immunity will protect them from the virus, says Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Ahmad Amzad Hashim.
In a statement today (30 November), he said that these groups consists of 30% of the total population of Malaysia, who will automatically be protected from Covid-19 once herd immunity is achieved, reported Berita Harian.
“At least 60% of the people need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity,” he said.
“Herd immunity means that the remaining 30 percent of the population will be protected if 70% of the people have Covid-19 vaccine protection.”
“A total of 30% that will not be vaccinated are children aged 18 and under and those with immune system problems, who are not suitable to receive the vaccine.”
Herd immunity happens when a certain number of people in a community become immune to an infectious disease that it stops the disease from spreading, according to HealthLine.
This can happen in two ways:
- Many people contract the disease and in time build up an immune response to it (natural immunity).
- Many people are vaccinated against the disease to achieve immunity.
However, Ahmad Amzad said that the remaining 30% of the people can choose to get their own vaccine injections at private hospitals if they wish to. They will get tax exemptions for the cost of the vaccine in up to RM1,000 per person.
He added that the government was targeting a total of 70% of Malaysians to receive the vaccine for free as early as the first quarter of next year (2021).
Of the total number of people to be vaccinated, 20% (or 6.4 million people) will receive the vaccine supplied by US pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, while 10% of the people will be supplied with the vaccine through the Global Covid-19 Vaccine Access Plan (COVAX).
“For the remaining 40%, the government is in talks with suppliers such as Sputnik V, Moderna, Astrazeneca and others, but only Pfizer has stated commitment to deliver the vaccine in the first quarter of 2021 so far, while other suppliers will have to wait until the fourth quarter,” Ahmad Amzad said.
He further explained that the priority of Covid-19 vaccination in Malaysia will be given to frontliners like health workers and security personnel, as well as high risk groups such as the elderly.
However, before the vaccines are administered to Malaysians, it must first be approved by regulatory bodies recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Union (EU).
“All 12 Covid-19 vaccines in phase 3 of clinical trials have been tested on 20,000 to 90,000 volunteers from various countries around the world including the ASEAN region,” he added.
“It is not true that this vaccine is only tested on monkeys and mice. All Covid-19 vaccine candidates evaluated by Malaysia have a report of effectiveness of 90% and above.”
Ahmad Amzad stressed that the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) has assisted in the search for vaccines that adhere to the requirements in accordance with the Islamic law. He said that based on existing information, all Covid-19 vaccines do not contain porcine (pig) or bovine (cow) content.
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