Vaccines Effective Despite Breakthrough Majority Of Covid-19 Cases

About 56% of 137,109 Covid-19 cases from Sept 28-Oct 11 were fully vaccinated, but vaccines remain 89.7% effective against infection; Sinovac comprises 59% of breakthrough cases.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 — Although more than half of Covid-19 cases recently reported in Malaysia are fully vaccinated, vaccines remain nearly 90 per cent effective against infection.

About 55.6 per cent, or 76,186, of 137,109 new Covid-19 cases reported in Malaysia from September 28 to October 11 were fully vaccinated. In contrast, 65.6 per cent of Malaysia’s total population were fully inoculated as of October 11.

Some 32.1 per cent of 137,109 coronavirus cases detected from September 28 to October 11 were unvaccinated. In comparison, about a quarter of Malaysia’s total population were not inoculated.

About 12.3 per cent of new Covid-19 cases during that fortnight were partially vaccinated, exceeding the 9.5 per cent share of the total population that did not complete inoculation.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Musa Mohd Nordin calculated vaccine efficacy against infection from the September 28-October 11 sample at about 89.7 per cent, which is similar to 88 per cent vaccine efficacy in the Recovam real-world study led by the Institute for Clinical Research.

“Infections in vaccinated people do not suggest that the vaccines are not effective,” Dr Musa told CodeBlue.

He added that vaccine breakthrough infections were expected due to the reduction of neutralising antibodies with time, immunosuppressed individuals who did not mount a sufficient immune response with two vaccine doses, and certain people whose jobs expose them to large viral loads that overwhelm their immunity.

Sinovac Breakthroughs Double Of Pfizer

Sinovac comprised about 59.1 per cent of 76,186 breakthrough Covid-19 cases in fully vaccinated individuals from September 28 to October 11, exceeding Pfizer-BioNTech (37.5 per cent) and AstraZeneca-Oxford (3.3 per cent).

During that fortnight, Sinovac formed 45,008 breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated people, compared to 28,592 cases that were double vaccinated with Pfizer and 2,499 with AstraZeneca.

In comparison to the fully vaccinated population in Malaysia, more people received Pfizer at 41.8 per cent, followed by Sinovac (37.6 per cent) and AstraZeneca (7.3 per cent), as of October 11.

Dr Musa calculated the risk of breakthrough infection with Sinovac, an inactivated vaccine, at 1.83 times of Pfizer, an mRNA shot, based on the September 28-October 11 sample.

“The Recovam study showed that the breakthrough ICU (intensive care unit) admission rate was 5.5 times higher in Sinovac recipients when compared with Pfizer,” he told CodeBlue. 

“The breakthrough mortality rate was three times more with those who had the Sinovac versus Pfizer vaccine.”

A voluntary booster vaccination programme was rolled out since Wednesday for people aged 60 and older and frontline workers, as well as third doses for immunocompromised individuals. However, only Pfizer booster shots will be offered to those who were double vaccinated with the same vaccine, as the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) has yet to authorise mix-and-match vaccines pending a study on heterologous vaccination starting next month in Sarawak.

Fully Vaccinated Rise From 51% To 60% Of Daily Cases

Breakthrough infections in fully inoculated people increased from 50.9 per cent of 11,332 cases reported nationwide on September 28 to 59.9 per cent of 6,709 cases on October 11. 

Breakthrough cases reached as high as 6,820 infections on September 30, while October 11 saw 4,019 breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people. 

In that fortnight, 76,186 breakthrough cases in completely inoculated people were recorded nationwide, comprising 55.6 per cent of 137,109 overall infections.

Infections among unvaccinated people ranged from 3,944 cases on September 28 to 2,005 on October 11. 

77% Of Sarawak Cases Are Fully Vaccinated

About 77 per cent, or 18,418, of 23,864 Covid-19 cases reported in Sarawak from September 28 to October 11 were fully vaccinated. By October 11, about 68 per cent of the state’s total population completed vaccination.

About 67 per cent of Sarawak’s fully vaccinated population received Sinovac, compared to 20 per cent Pfizer.

Breakthrough infections in fully inoculated people in Labuan, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Putrajaya, Perlis, Penang, Sabah, and Kelantan exceeded half of coronavirus cases in the capital city and respective states from September 28 to October 11.

Except Sabah and Kelantan, more than half of the total populations in the Klang Valley and those states completed vaccination as of October 11.

The small island of Labuan, which vaccinated 71 per cent of its total population as of October 11, recorded an 82 per cent share of fully vaccinated among its 33 Covid-19 cases between September 28 and October 11. Labuan mostly received Pfizer at 77 per cent of its fully vaccinated population.

Under-18s, Elderly Contributing To Covid-19 Cases

Consultant paediatrician Dr Musa Mohd Nordin. Picture from Dr Musa Mohd Nordin’s Facebook page.

Dr Musa said the majority of breakthrough infections would be among senior citizens aged above 60, mainly due to waning immunity, immunosuppression, and underlying health conditions.

The other large group contributing to Covid-19 cases is among minors aged below 18 who are mostly unvaccinated.

“They will not only now be at risk of Covid infection, but also act as major transmitters of infection, namely to their high-risk elderly parents and grandparents and to their peers in play schools, primary and secondary schools.”

The paediatrician said in the context of the highly contagious Delta variant with an R-naught of 5 to 7, Malaysia must achieve at least 89 per cent total population vaccination coverage to confer indirect protection onto unvaccinated groups, namely children aged below 12, those who are allergic to coronavirus vaccines, and vaccine-hesitant individuals.

About 67 per cent of Malaysia’s total population and 91 per cent of the adult population have been fully inoculated to date. Some 76 per cent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 have received at least one dose, including 14 per cent fully vaccinated.

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