The Minister co-ordinating Covid-19 vaccines, Khairy Jamaluddin announced yesterday that he had abandoned the objective to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 by vaccinating 80 per cent of the population.
Is this the position of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet and the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) or is it just Khairy’s position?
“InsyaAllah, once we have achieved herd immunity in phase four, all these can be done in stages with adherence to strict SOP. Our ability to achieve herd immunity will depend on how many of our people have received the vaccinations.”
In his live national telecast on May 31 announcing the “total lockdown” and the RM40 billion Pemerkasa Plus relief package, he reiterated the government’s herd immunity objective by the end of the year.
On June 13, it was reported that Malaysia’s federal territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya were expected to reach herd immunity by August – earlier than planned – as the government said more people were able to receive their jabs with the opening of more vaccination centres (PPV).
On June 4, 2021, the Health Minister, Adham Baba (pictured), said Malaysia had ordered enough vaccines to cover 109 per cent of its population who qualify for inoculation with the aim of achieving herd immunity against Covid-19 by December.
Not to mention the two deplorable statements by the Home Minister, Hamzah Zainuddin, that Parliament could only be convened when Malaysia had achieved herd immunity – both statements in June itself, one on June 4 and the other on June 11.
Now we are suddenly told that it is not the government’s objective to achieve herd immunity – was the subject ever discussed and a decision taken in the Cabinet, and if so, when was it taken?
Is the Prime Minister capable of throwing light on the issue?
Khairy expects Covid-19 to be an endemic disease that remains ever present in Malaysia, amid the spread of more contagious new variants, but as a less dangerous threat.
This is nothing new as it represents international expert medical opinion going back to last year.
But this is an impossible target, as Malaysia’s adult population above 18 years (and up to now, we are only vaccinating those above 18 years old) is only 63.8 per cent of the population which is 20.6 million. It is only now that the government is talking about vaccinating those in the 12-18 age group.
An explanation from Khairy is warranted – did he abandon herd immunity because it is impossible to achieve or because Covd-19 will become endemic.
Also an explanation from the Prime Minister – why he is not agile and nimble enough to realise that the herd immunity objective had been abandoned?
Has the government any new vaccination policy and if so, what?
Lim Kit Siang
MP for Iskandar Puteri