The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) is in full swing in Malaysia. More than 38 per cent of Malaysians have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 18 per cent have completed two doses.
For the past week, the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) has administered at least 400,000 doses daily. This means that Malaysia has one of the highest rates of Covid-19 vaccination in the world.
As more people are getting vaccinated, we have seen postings on their social media accounts telling of their experiences. Most of them were happy to be vaccinated.
However, we need to do more to promote vaccination among family members and friends.
As reported by Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in Parliament on July 28, 2021, only 61.7 per cent of Malaysians have registered for vaccination.
This situation is worrying because we need to vaccinate at least 70 per cent of our population to achieve herd immunity.
Furthermore, unvaccinated individuals are suffering the most in countries with a high vaccination percentage among their citizens. For instance, the United States, with almost 50 per cent of citizens vaccinated, is experiencing another wave of infection.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr Rochelle Walensky, at least 99 per cent of Covid-19 deaths in the last six months of 2021 in the US have occurred among unvaccinated individuals.
This example is a clear reminder that we need to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible.
Some of us who have completed two doses might plan to visit family members and friends once the government lifts the Movement Control Order (MCO). We may be carrying the virus, despite being asymptomatic and having completed two doses of vaccine.
Despite having a lower viral load, we can still transmit the virus to our unvaccinated family members and friends.
Therefore, unvaccinated family members and friends, especially the elderly and those with comorbidities. may suffer from severe Covid disease, and might eventually die.
Let us take proactive action to encourage, engage and convince our family members and friends to sign up for vaccination.
This is in line with the national vaccination tagline, ‘Lindung Diri, Lindung Semua’.
Ahmad Mahfuz Gazali is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Industrial Sciences and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Pahang.
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