KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 – Malaysia has the 42nd highest rate of Covid-19 booster jabs administered in the world with a take-up rate of 33.93 per cent as of January 25, 2022, according to global data tracker Our World In Data.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday tweeted that the “Omicron wave has begun” in Malaysia with daily coronavirus cases expected to increase. Yesterday saw 4,744 new Covid-19 infections reported, the highest since December 10 (5,058 cases).
However, Khairy expects the situation to remain under control given the country’s high vaccination rate. At least 79.8 per cent of Malaysia’s total population have been vaccinated with at least one dose.
The country’s health care system is also prepared for any potential impact of the Omicron variant with severely ill cases declining, Khairy said.
The average number of new cases has increased to 3,972 cases daily in the last seven days, a 27 per cent increase compared to an average of 3,132 cases the week before, according to the CovidNow website.
Average daily Covid hospital admissions have also climbed to 875 in the past week, up by 5 per cent. The overall hospitalisation trend, however, has been on the decline from a weekly average of 1,135 daily Covid hospital admissions at the end of November last year.
Malaysia has been ramping up its inoculation campaign by opening up more vaccination centres (PPVs) in the Klang Valley, the country’s commercial region, to seniors aged 60 and older and all adults aged 18 and above for walk-in Covid booster jabs, as announced by ProtectHealth Corporation.
The nation’s booster effort beats the number of third jabs administered per 100 people in the United States, which stands at 25.5 per cent, and where vaccination rates have slowed.
Nevertheless, Malaysia lags behind Chile, which has given boosters to 64.61 per cent of people, Israel (54.25 per cent), the United Kingdom (54.24 per cent), South Korea (50.26 per cent), and the United Arab Emirates (41.97 per cent).
Malaysia is also listed among a handful of Asean nations with data on Covid-19 vaccine boosters, ranking third behind Singapore and Cambodia where about 55.46 per cent and 34.04 per cent of people have been boosted, respectively.
Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, and Vietnam, have also kicked off their booster campaigns, but data on additional doses administered across the four countries were not available on the Our World In Data tracking site.
The latest study findings released by the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that an mRNA Covid-19 booster dose can reduce the risk of hospitalisation from the Omicron variant by up to 90 per cent.
An additional shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna coronavirus vaccine is similarly effective at preventing emergency department and urgent care centre encounters at 82 per cent, one CDC study found.
Another study concluded that three shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were 67 per cent effective against Omicron-related symptomatic disease versus unvaccinated people.
The new studies from the agency support previous research — including in South Africa and the UK — indicating that available vaccines are less effective against Omicron than earlier versions of the coronavirus, but that boosters also significantly improve protection.