Sin Chew Daily
Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Tuesday that the government had changed the definition of “fully vaccinated” to having completed a third booster dose of vaccine. He said everything had to be put on the table for discussion in order to prevent a rebound of COVID-19 cases.
What the government is currently doing is to persuade, encourage and plead Malaysians to receive a third booster dose. He said there is another Plan B, i.e. to make it compulsory for an individual to receive a third booster dose before he or she can be considered fully vaccinated.
To the country’s under 5% “human rights fighters”, they don’t even want to be administered a single dose of vaccine. To them, enforcing them to receive an additional dose of vaccine is a serious violation of their human rights and is absolutely intolerable. Unfortunately, even as they are so keen to travel out of the country, no country is willing to take them in for the time being.
For the rest of the population, we can’t deny that Khairy is indeed a very responsible minister who is doing his job well even as many ministers still lack the experience to fight the heinous virus. He was racing against time to procure more than 80 million doses from six major vaccine manufacturers globally, and kickstarted the national immunization program in a bid to stem the infinite spread of the virus.
Today, the pandemic has been progressively controlled while interstate travel bans lifted, allowing the economy, education and the people’s day-to-day living to be gradually restored, thanks to our high vaccination rate.
Some may ask, now that we have been given two doses, why must we take a third booster dose?
There are three reasons for this: Firstly, the effects of some vaccines are not lasting very long and the purpose of administering a booster dose is to extend the effectiveness of the antibodies produced by the vaccines. Secondly, some of the vaccines are only around 75% effective after two doses, and an additional dose will boost the effectiveness to 95%. Thirdly, Delta and other mutant variants are highly transmissive and only a booster dose can contain them.
That said, there are still plenty of social media users who are against the administration of booster doses, arguing that we have purchased too much of the vaccine that we need to use it somewhere and that they refused to become guinea pigs.
As a responsible media organization, we feel it an obligation to explain to our readers that the government is not trying to cheat anyone because the virus can mutate even if they are not alive. As such, all our antivirus strategies and vaccination programs will have to be flexible and versatile in order to deal with the unexpected changes.
Our booster program has not been very smooth, as Khairy has conceded. According to him, some 40% of people failed to show up for their booster vaccination appointments.
With state borders now fully opened up and people are coming out in droves for all kinds of activities, our risk of getting infected will be quite high if we only have received two doses of vaccine, do not fully comply with the SOPs and our antibodies are becoming weaker.
As of this Tuesday, some 7.74 billion doses of vaccine had been administered globally, almost equivalent to the entire world’s population, or an average of one dose per person. Unfortunately, the number of daily new cases are still hovering around the half-million mark.
Countries like the US, UK, Russia, Germany, Turkey and Singapore are among the most vaccinated countries but they continue to experience new bouts of infections.
While the number of new infections remains high, mortality rate has come down significantly from a peak of 4% to under 1% now, for example 0.7% for the US and 0.1% for the UK.
A third booster dose will further reduce the total number of daily new cases and deaths. We should be able to optimistically predict that the coronavirus pandemic will be effectively controlled by mid-2022.
Of course, we may still need to adhere to the SOPs and receive an additional dose of vaccine each year for another one year or two.