Malaysia Mulls Freedom From SOPs To Motivate Vaccine Registration

By Ashswita Ravindran | 31 March 2021

The US CDC allows fully vaccinated people to skip quarantine and testing following known exposure to Covid-19 if they do not have symptoms.

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — The Malaysian government is considering lifting certain restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals to boost the country’s flagging registration for Covid-19 shots, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.

The vaccine minister, during the launch of “Corporate Collaboration for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme” today, said that Malaysia is looking into giving certain exemptions from Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) for people who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

“In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is coming up with new regulations for people who have been fully vaccinated. So, even in Malaysia, we are starting to think about what we will allow for people who have received two doses of the vaccine, what they will be able to do compared to those who have not received the vaccination,” the vaccine minister said. 

“So, once we start thinking about this, looking at the data and announcing it, this will also be an incentive for people to come forward to register and to become vaccinated.” 

The CDC has recommended that people who are fully vaccinated with both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine can visit other fully inoculated people indoors without wearing face masks or practising physical distancing. Besides that, CDC also said that vaccinated people can visit unvaccinated people from a single household, who are at low risk for severe Covid-19, indoors without wearing masks or practising physical distancing. 

Fully vaccinated people can also refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure of the coronavirus if they are asymptomatic. 

Malaysia’s Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said in a statement yesterday that vaccinated travellers entering Malaysia are still not exempted from mandatory quarantine. An interstate travel ban remains in force throughout the country.

A new real-world study by the CDC conducted among nearly 4,000 people in the US found that mRNA vaccines — namely the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots — were 90 per cent effective in preventing any Covid-19 infection, including asymptomatic cases. The individuals vaccinated so far under Malaysia’s national Covid-19 vaccination programme have mostly received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot. 

CodeBlue reported today volunteers on the ground in Bangi, Selangor, as saying that many people refuse to register for Covid-19 vaccination because they want to choose their preferred vaccine, or they are worried about the adverse effects of the vaccine. 

Volunteers said only half of the people they approach at Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming’s vaccine registration drives in his constituency can be persuaded, while the other half walk away from the volunteers, refusing to listen to vaccine information. 

Khairy said that the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) is training more volunteers so that they will have the right materials and information on Covid-19 vaccines to convince more people to get the jab. 

“So, I think the main thing is to focus on those who want to talk, those who are willing to listen, willing to register and hopefully in the next few months or so, as more people become vaccinated, as the rates of infection, rates of hospitalisation, and rates of deaths come down, those who are reluctant [will] come forward to be vaccinated.

“I am confident that the more people who are vaccinated, the more people who register for vaccine in the coming months, that those who are reluctant will also come forward and say ‘yes, I believe the vaccines are safe, I believe that the vaccine is effective;,” the science, technology, and innovation minister added. 

As of March 30, only about 31 per cent of adults in Malaysia have registered on MySejahtera for their Covid-19 shots, or 7.4 million people.

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