Sunday, October 17, 2021

Drop in vaccine protection could be behind Sarawak surge, says Khairy

He says the health ministry has not ruled out this possibility, and is looking into the need for booster shots.

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The health ministry is not ruling out the possibility that the waning effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines over time is driving virus transmission in Sarawak.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the ministry is also studying the need to administer booster shots, especially to the elderly, immunocompromised and healthcare workers to overcome the situation, as has been implemented in other countries.

“So, we are certainly not ruling that out,” he told reporters yesterday when asked about the possibility of waning effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines.

Sarawak has recently been witnessing a surge in daily cases, with a total of 3,118 cases recorded yesterday.

Khairy said he expects to visit Sarawak next week to discuss with the state government additional measures to reduce transmission.

“I have asked for recommendations to be made before the next Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply meeting next week,” he said.

He said testing, tracing and isolation are important in Sarawak right now as what is happening in the state could also happen in other states in a few months’ time.

“If it is because of the waning effects of the vaccines, we have to see what are the immediate measures we can take to stop the increasing rate of transmission in Sarawak, and use that as a playbook for other states which may encounter a similar situation,” he said.

He said people also need to be educated to take responsibility for their own health as part of public health measures.

He said people with symptoms need to conduct tests quickly and isolate, adding that a new contract tracing technology would be introduced at the end of the month to assist the ministry in tracing close contacts.

He said a national testing strategy is one way of moving forward in the mitigation phase, adding that certain schools will be involved in the testing exercises, in addition to vaccination.

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