KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — Malaysia has detected two BA.5 and one BA.2.12.1 cases, which are Omicron sub-variants.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said this was the first time these variant lineages have been detected in the country.

“Both are categorised by WHO (World Health Organization) as VOC-LUM (lineages under monitoring) under the Omicron variant. So far, risk factors remain the same,” he said in his tweet today.

Both variants are reported to be more transmissible version of the original SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Meanwhile, Khairy in a video posted in WHO Twitter today said Malaysia has to ensure that the choice architecture that the Health Ministry designed for people to decide on whether or not they wanted to be vaccinated (for COVID-19) was as frictionless as possible.

“Health Ministry knew that there was going to be hesitancy (in getting COVID-19 vaccines). Make it  (vaccinations) easy for them (Malaysians), make it understandable, translate it to as many dialects as possible, get public healthcare workers to go out to communities which are marginalised far in the interior to bring the vaccines to them,” he said. 

He said its not just about communicating but its about getting people to change their behaviour, adapt their behaviour beyond COVID-19 as well, behavioural science is actually the first line of defence for public healthcare.

“If you can get people to behave differently to have health-seeking behaviour, to go for their vaccination then this will tremendously strengthen everything else in the healthcare system,” he said. 

Khairy was asked how did Malaysia use behavioural science in COVID-19 vaccination campaign.


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