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One year for country to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19, say scientists
Published on: Monday, February 08, 2021
By: Bernama
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Photo: AP
Kuala Lumpur: The country is expected to need a year to achieve herd immunity for the coronavirus through the National COVID-19 Immunisation Plan, one of the largest vaccination programmes in Malaysia.

Scientist Ts. Dr Ummirul Mukmimin Kahar from the Malaysian Genome Institute, National Institutes of Biotechnology Malaysia (NIBM) said that to achieve herd immunity, 80 per cent of the population needs to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

Malaysia is expected to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech by the end of February with frontline staff being among early recipients of the vaccine.

“After February, the COVID-19 National Immunisation programme will become one of the largest vaccination exercise in Malaysia. The administration of the vaccine will be implemented in three phases and will run until February 2022,” he told Bernama in a special interview via Zoom here, today.

Dr Ummirul Mukminin said the vaccinations will be conducted at 600 vaccination centres which would be opened nationwide under the supervision of the Health Ministry (MOH), hospitals, and universities.

In addition to Pfizer-BioNTECH, so far there are several types of COVID-19 vaccines that have been identified by the MOH through the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), namely the vaccine produced by Astra Zeneca-Oxford, Sinovac Biotech, and Gamaleya Research Institute.

In the meantime, he said it was very important for the country to achieve group immunity because it not only protects those who have been vaccinated, but also the people around them.

“Herd immunity means that virus-borne infections will not be able to infect a group of people when most members of the community have the immunity to fight the actual virus.

“This is important to protect those at risk (people who are susceptible to infectious diseases) such as children, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases (cancer or HIV),” he said.

It also coincides with the aspirations of the National Immunisation Plan by the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV), namely Protect yourself, Protect All.



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