KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — The fatality rate due to COVID-19 among the elderly especially those who have yet to complete their vaccination or receive booster shot, is way higher than other age groups, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Based on the data for Epidemiology Week (ME) 1/2022 to ME 10/2022, the fatality rate of those aged 80 and above stood at 2,000 cases per 100,000 people, compared to 300 to 600 cases among individuals aged 60 to 79.
“This is due to a weakened immune system, chronic diseases as well as a slower and complicated recovery process,” he said in a statement today.
Dr Noor Hisham said the unvaccinated group of elderly people would have the highest risk of being infected with COVID-19 and could result in death while senior citizens who have received their booster shots are the most protected.
He said a total of 86,804 COVID-19 cases involving the elderly were reported from ME 1/2022 to ME 10/2022 with 83,709 cases or 96.44 per cent were in categories one and two, while 3,095 cases or 3.56 per cent were in categories three to five.
“This shows that the relatively high percentage of vaccination coverage among the elderly has helped reduce cases of serious COVID-19 infections for this group.
“However, the booster shot coverage for the elderly should be further increased from 74.2 per cent to better protect the group against the effects of severe infection,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said there was an increase in hospital admissions among the elderly, namely from one case per 100,000 people to nine cases from ME 3/2022 to ME 10/2022, adding that most of the cases were in categories three to five.
As at March 16, he said a total of 3,356,253 or 92 per cent of senior citizens in the country had completed their primary COVID-19 vaccination while 2,489,718 or 74.2 per cent of the group had received the booster dose.
He urged unvaccinated senior citizens or those who have yet to receive their booster shot to immediately walk in to the nearest vaccination centre as the country will enter the Transition to Endemic Phase next month.