Vaccines are not a cure-all, Putrajaya told

PETALING JAYA: Vaccinations alone cannot be relied upon to reduce case numbers and the government has been urged to ensure that vigilance on SOP adherence continues even as the national immunisation campaign gathers pace.

Former deputy health minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said that as “there is no perfect vaccine yet,” the public must be aware of the need to abide by public health protocols even as more of the country becomes vaccinated.

“Until over 16 million people (about half the country) have been vaccinated, with most elderly and high- risk individuals vaccinated, some degree of lockdown will still be needed,” he told FMT.

“The existing vaccines can provide almost 90-100% protection against serious or fatal disease. However infection and transmission can still occur even though at a much lower rate.” – Dr Lee Boon Chye.

He said the government must implement other mitigation strategies in addition to speeding up vaccinations so that numbers can be lowered in line with more people gaining immunity, lest the country end up in limbo between phases with a high percentage of the population vaccinated but high daily figures persisting. Dr Subramaniam Muniandy.

“There must be a combination of vaccination, effective contact tracing and isolation, mass testing and consistent SOPs to keep the pandemic under control.”

Dr Subramaniam Muniandy, president of the Malaysian Medical Association, said that vaccines lowered the rate of virus transmission but did not eliminate them.

“Until we are fully vaccinated, we should not get too complacent. The SOPs will still need to be followed,” he said.

He said that while vaccines will be “the key to making the pandemic manageable,” it is likely the virus will remain a fixture in the country for quite some time. – FMT

by Imran Ariff

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