Govt studies need for 3rd booster shot, Khairy asks Malaysians to stay calm

Minister announces that the vaccination programme for the construction sector will begin July 1

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by BERNAMA

PUTRAJAYA is studying the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines against the Delta variant and the need for a third booster shot.

According to a Bernama report, the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP) Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture) said developed countries are procuring vaccines for next year as they are mulling the need for a third booster shot.

“We want to get better data on how long the vaccine protection will last and at what point should we begin the third dose, if needed. This is for next year’s forecast,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

Khairy has asked the public to remain calm and be patient while waiting for additional vaccine supplies to arrive into the country.

The NCIP coordinating minister assured Malaysians that the vaccines will be sent to states and vaccination centres (PPVs) as soon as they arrive.

He added that the targets set for the administration of Covid-19 vaccines are based on the availability of vaccine supply.

“I am aware that many people are asking when is their turn to get the vaccine. Some states have been asking too.

“Calm down, relax. The shipments are coming soon.

“It is not like I am sitting on any vaccines. The moment they arrive and we get the lot released from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency, they will be distributed to all the states and PPVs,” he said at a press conference in Port Klang last Friday.

According to Khairy, the country’s vaccine utilisation rate now stood at 90% and this has resulted in some states running low on supplies.

He emphasised that this is evidence of the ministry’s efforts in ensuring the vaccines are being given to as many people as possible daily.

“For example, when 100 vaccines arrive at PPVs, 90 of them will be used and the remaining 10 will act as a buffer for appointments in the coming days.

“Some PPVs are getting nervous because there are not many vaccines in the fridge left as they are waiting for the next batches to arrive,” he added.

On that note, Khairy also announced that the vaccination programme for the construction sector will begin on July 1.

He added that the programme, which would be coordinated by the Works Ministry, will focus on ongoing construction projects that are operating under the current Full Movement Control Order (FMCO).

Apart from that, he said the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) had also started discussions with the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry to expand the provision of vaccines for the industry soon.

“As I mentioned earlier, this vaccination programme will be extended to other industries based on the supply received.

“Vaccination for these sectors will not disrupt the ongoing NCIP,” he noted.

Last Friday, Khairy along with Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong had visited the Port Klang Authority Sports Club Hall PPV to monitor the first day of vaccination for port workers and seafarers.

Wee said throughout the MCO, the transport sector is part of the essential services that continue to operate 24 hours, seven days a week to ensure that people’s lives and the movement of goods and passengers are not affected.

In view of that, the Transport Ministry (MoT), in collaboration with the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and the Health Ministry (MoH) had launched the Transportation Sector Vaccination Programme that covers maritime, aviation and land transport services.

“MoT had received approval from the CITF on June 21 to implement the vaccination programme for around 51,500 frontliners in the transport sector, namely seafarers, port workers, airport personnel and those in land and rail transport services.

“Transport operators that are involved in this programme will contribute to the costs of establishing the PPVs, while the vaccination supplies will be borne by the government,” he noted during the press conference.

Wee said through the PPV managed in Port Klang, with a capacity of 1,000 recipients per day, a total of 10,000 seafarers and port workers will receive their vaccine injection.

He added that this approach will benefit 18,596 or 53% supervisors and port workers in the central region who are eligible to get vaccinated in this first phase.

“The total number of supervisors and port workers in Malaysia is 59,155.

“The eligibility of the recipients is determined by the MoH and takes into consideration various factors, including pregnant or nursing mothers, or other medical factors,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Wee said for the aviation sector, the vaccination programme will begin on July 5 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s Main Terminal. It will involve 22,243 airport workers, airline staff and cargo workers.

For the land public transport sector, he said a few PPVs will also be opened at several locations throughout the country to ensure that 19,259 rail attendants and bus drivers get vaccinated soon.

At the same time, Wee said MoT and CITF are coordinating the vaccination programme for an estimated 355,064 taxi and e-hailing drivers, bus drivers and p-hailing riders.

“This programme will be implemented under public PPV and the government will fully bear the costs,” he added.