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COMMENT | Living with Covid-19 - is Malaysia ready?

COMMENT | Recently there have been statements about moving from a Covid-19 pandemic state to an endemic phase by the end of October. The argument for this is higher adult vaccination rates nationwide.

So we need to ask this question: Is Malaysia ready to move to an endemic phase by the end of October 2021?

I would like to describe some ‘movements’ we need to make as a nation for us to be ready to enter an endemic phase, as well as offer you a ‘report card’ of our preparedness measures.

Move from looking at adult vaccination rates to total population vaccination rates

The data from many countries is very clear that the virus continues to spread as long as you have segments of your population that are unvaccinated; especially children.

Hence, it is important that we stop talking about or showing data on adult vaccination rates and concentrate only on total population vaccination rates.

For example, even in regions with high vaccination coverage, the total vaccination rates are below 70 percent currently.

Data from the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) on Sept 3 showed that the Klang Valley had 69.5 percent of its population fully vaccinated.

This while 112.2 percent of its adults were fully vaccinated.

We need 90 percent of the community vaccinated to move to an endemic phase.

Move away from herd immunity concepts to mitigating outbreaks

The Delta variant has changed the entire landscape of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is clear we will have breakthrough infections in those fully vaccinated; fortunately, the majority of the infections will be mild.

Current data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Public Health Emergency (PHE) in the US suggest that...

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