KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — More than 50 per cent of 27 people in Sarawak dying from Covid-19, whose deaths were reported September 5 to 6, had been fully vaccinated, Dr Sim Kui Hian said today.
About 88 per cent of adults in Sarawak have been double-jabbed to date. Israel — with 78 per cent of its population aged 12 and older fully vaccinated, mostly with Pfizer — reported that as of August 15, about 59 per cent of 514 Israelis who were hospitalised with severe or critical Covid-19 disease were fully vaccinated. Of the inoculated, 87 per cent were aged 60 or older.
As of yesterday, about 77.7 per cent of fully vaccinated people in Sarawak had received Sinovac, followed by Pfizer-BioNTech (18.7 per cent) and AstraZeneca-Oxford (2.4 per cent).
Dr Sim said he was informed by the Sarawak state health department that all of the double-jabbed victims had multiple underlying health conditions.
“The deaths are not all on the same day, especially BID (brought-in-dead), as it depends on the pathologist,” Dr Sim told CodeBlue.
He said he did not yet have information on which vaccines were taken by the fully inoculated Covid-19 victims, nor the specific number of fatalities that had been fully vaccinated. The federal Ministry of Health (MOH) has yet to release data on daily breakthrough infections among people who died from Covid-19.
Based on Dr Sim’s Covid-19 reports, of the 27 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Sarawak from September 5 to 6, the majority of victims were aged 60 years and above, except for a 24-year-old man, a 56-year-old man, as well as some among four Covid-19 deaths reported in Pusa on September 6 aged 42 to 81.
The age of the fully vaccinated victims was unknown.
“Places like Pusa, they may not even seek medical attention,” Dr Sim pointed out to CodeBlue. Pusa is a small rural interior town on the way to Sri Aman.
Sarawak began vaccinating the elderly in Phase Two of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme on April 19. This means the first batch of people aged 60 and above would have completed their second dose by May 9, four months ago.
CNN reported last August 30 a recent study in Thailand that showed Sinovac’s efficacy against Delta dropped to 48.33 per cent six months after the second dose, prompting an infectious disease specialist in the Philippines to call for booster shots after six months.
A real-world study in the UK on positive Covid-19 test results between May and July among more than a million people who were fully vaccinated with either Pfizer or AstraZeneca showed that protection from Pfizer declined to 74 per cent after five to six months. For AstraZeneca, protection dropped to 67 per cent after four to five months.
Israel has already begun rolling out third booster doses for the elderly, expanding the Covid-19 booster programme to people aged 40 and above since August 20. The United States has also started administering Covid-19 vaccine booster shots, after health authorities approved third doses for people with weakened immune systems.