KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Most countries recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic started to introduce vaccine benefits to those fully inoculated against Covid-19 when a threshold of 30 to 40 per cent of the population has been vaccinated, said Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
The Health director-general said this was the approach that is being looked at by the government as it prepares to announce its own set of leeways and loosened regulations for fully vaccinated individuals.
“When we see vaccination rate reaches about 30 to 40 per cent, most countries we see, they start allowing leeways or benefits. Not all restrictions are necessarily removed, but certain leeways are given.
“So when we reach about 30 to 40 per cent vaccinated, we can start giving these benefits and leeways, maybe for activities such as sports like badminton,” he said during a press conference this evening.
Dr Noor Hisham explained that when vaccination rate for second doses reach around 40 to 50 per cent, the number of daily cases is also expected to drop, making it safer for these vaccine benefits to be given.
“We are currently studying these methods and an announcement will be made soon by the prime minister,” he added.
He then gave Labuan as an effective model of the positive effects from ramping up vaccination rates, pointing out how there were only 21 new cases reported in the Federal Territory today.
“The public health measures implemented in Labuan has produced results where in just over two weeks the number of cases was reduced,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham explained that currently 73.7 per cent of Labuan’s population are fully vaccinated with their second dose, in stark contrast to the situation there earlier this month where most cases were found to be of the new Delta variant.
He said the aggressive public health measures taken in Labuan has seen the requirement for a field hospital there become obsolete, with hospital beds being freed up.
“Today we were also informed that the field hospital in Labuan is set to close tomorrow with low number of patients; a total of 260 patients remain in the quarantine and isolations centre, while out of the 22 ICU beds there, only nine are in use.
“If we increase the vaccination rate for the second dose, the cases will decrease, and we have found this out from the model used in Labuan; if we increase the vaccination rates we can control the infection of Covid-19 in the community,” he added.
As of last night, more than 16 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered locally, with 21.8 per cent of the adult population fully vaccinated, and 46.7 having received at least one dose.