GEORGE TOWN ,Mar 25– It has been a month since the first Covid-19 vaccine was administered to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. 

As more people are on tow to be vaccinated, a question that begs to be answered is whether Malaysians returning to the country after having been inoculated overseas need to be quarantined upon arrival.

According to Penang Medical Practitioners’ Society (PMPS) president Dr Parmjit Singh, at this stage, the quarantine still needs to be observed by those who arriving here.

“It is needed until 85% of the population in Malaysia is vaccinated. Only then can we say that we have reached herd immunity. 

“In the meantime, standard operating procedures (SOPs) still need to be observed,” he told The Vibes.

“So, we are probably looking at a timeline of more than a year before there is no longer a need for quarantine,” Parmjit added.

He stressed, however, that the call on this matter is ultimately in the hands of the Health Ministry.

Penang Health director Datuk Dr Asmayani Khalib said the review of quarantine procedures will depend on the status of the vaccination in the country. After that, it is subject to the directive of the ministry.

The inoculation programme in Malaysia is still lagging behind in comparison with neighbouring countries. 

Indonesia has administered more than 8.2 million vaccines to about 2.1% of its population. Singapore, a city-state with a much smaller population, has vaccinated 9.7% of its people. 

The United States has administered the most vaccines to date with 25%, or some 126.5 million, of the population vaccinated. 

Israel is said to be conducting the fastest inoculation programme with 100.1 doses administered per 100 people.

In Malaysia, as of yesterday, 481,989 vaccines (first and second doses) covering about 1.4% of the population have been administered. Of this total, 30,394 were administered in Penang.

Seeing that it will be a few more months before the groups at risk (elderly aged 65 and above) will receive their vaccines, Penang Adventist Hospital (PAH) has struck an arrangement with several state assemblymen to facilitate influenza inoculations to the B40 group in their constituencies. 

The assembly reps include state executive councillor Yeoh Soon Hin (Paya Terubong), Lim Siew Khim (Sg Pinang), and Chris Lee Chun Kit (Pulau Tikus).

The hospital has provided 500 doses of free influenza vaccines to senior citizens under its corporate social responsibility programme. 

The vaccines were donated by Oon Khye Seh Foundation through Prof Dr Tan Maw Pin of University Malaya Medical Centre.

According to PAH, the flu is a serious, contagious disease that can lead to hospitalisation or even death among the elderly. 

Through this free flu vaccination programme, the association hopes to raise awareness of the importance of vaccination, especially among the elderly. – The Vibes


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