KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 — Nearly half of all personnel at the Covid-19 vaccination site at Ideal Convention Centre (IDCC) in Shah Alam, Selangor, tested positive for Covid-19 in a mass screening.
Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the mass screening on all 453 staff at IDCC, conducted on July 10 after two volunteers at the vaccination site (PPV) tested positive for the virus, revealed a total of 204 confirmed cases, all of whom did not have serious disease.
About 88 per cent of the staff, or 400 personnel, have been vaccinated, Khairy said, without specifying if they were partially or fully inoculated.
He said RT-PCR tests showed that all the positive cases had low viral loads with a cycle threshold (CT) value of above 35. A person with low viral load is likely to be less contagious.
Khairy has since directed for a temporary one-day closure of IDCC effective today for sanitisation work and ventilation checks by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The IDCC PPV will resume operation tomorrow.
“Notifications via SMS and social media have been released to inform those who are scheduled to take the vaccine at IDCC today. They should have all received a new appointment date. Nevertheless, there will be staff at the IDCC to assist those who are not aware of the closure.
“All previous IDCC staff will be replaced with a new workforce as a precaution so that the potential for infection can be reduced,” he told a media briefing today.
Khairy said given the high number of Covid-19 infection cases in the Klang Valley, it is difficult for the CITF to ascertain whether an infection occurred specifically in IDCC.
However, he has advised those who were at IDCC from 4pm on July 9 until July 12 to self-isolate for 10 days and get tested only when symptoms such as dry cough and loss of taste and smell appear.
“This is the basic principle in pandemic management right now. So we are extending the same principle to the case at IDCC, which is if you display symptoms consistent with Covid-19 after July 9 at IDCC, that will get tested,” he said.
The symptoms cited by Khairy are associated with the original coronavirus strain. Recent surveys in the UK, where the Delta variant is now dominant, show symptoms like headache, sore throat, runny nose, and fever, while cough and loss of smell are less common. Delta is present in the Klang Valley, though its actual spread is unknown.
People can also still get infected with Covid-19, even after getting one vaccine dose, although they may be asymptomatic or show only mild symptoms. However, vaccines prevent hospitalisation and death.
Khairy said the CITF will continue to step up all efforts to ensure that IDCC is safe for the public to receive vaccine injections in the coming days.
“Therefore, I would like to urge the public to attend their appointments at IDCC as usual after this while adhering to SOPs (standard operating procedures) and physical distancing at all times. Do come on time but not too early and make sure to go home after vaccination to minimise your exposure in public areas.”
This is the first time that a PPV has been forced to shutter due to a Covid-19 outbreak. Khairy expects minimal impact from IDCC’s shutdown as corrective measures were carried out swiftly.
“This is the first time that we have had to shut down because of positive cases, but we acted fast and by shutting it down today and by taking corrective measures in changing the personnel at the PPV, as well as rescheduling. We hope the disruption is only for one day and this will not hamper the vaccination process,” he said.