After the COVID-19 vaccine, what next …

Malaysia started its vaccination programme on the 24th February 2021 with the first dose of the vaccine given to the Prime Minister YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin bin Haji Mohd. Yassin. The data on 22 April 2021 showed that 1,260,937 doses of vaccine have been administered with 771,829 (2.4%) individuals received at least one dose of the vaccine and 489,108 (1.5%) are fully vaccinated. Most of the people who received the vaccine are healthcare workers, other front liners and elected representatives.

The Malaysian vaccination programme has moved on to Phase 2 on 19 April 2021. In this phase, the remainder of the healthcare workers and essential services, defence and security personnel, and senior citizen, high-risk group and people with disability will be the target for the vaccination programme. More than 9 million people will be vaccinated during this phase. In the final phase, the rest of the people will receive the vaccine, i.e., 13.7 million people.

The COVID-19 vaccines were developed and deployed at a historical pace as compared to other previous vaccine programmes. There are four types of COVID-19 vaccine which have been approved for use, they include nucleic acid-based vaccine, e.g., Pfizer-BioNTech and Modena vaccines; protein subunit vaccine, e.g., Novavax vaccine; vector-based vaccine, e.g., Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, CamSino Biology and Sputnik V; and whole virus vaccine, e.g., SinoVac and Sinopharm.

The earlier report published on Phase III clinical trial data have shown the efficacy of the vaccine to be 65-95% against asymptomatic, laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection, more than 89% against COVID-19 infection severe enough to required hospitalisation and has high efficacy against death from the COVID-19.

The real-world data also showed a similar result. Data for people 14-day after fully vaccinated showed efficacy of 90% among healthcare workers and first responders in the United States of America; 89% for adults over 80 years old in the United Kingdom and 97% among the general population in Isreal. This shows that the vaccine is effective to prevent COVID-19 infection.

What next …

For people who have been fully vaccinated, what should they do at healthcare facilities and outside of healthcare facilities? The issue was discussed during a webinar organised by the Malaysian Medical Association – Public Health Society on 24 April 2021. Dr Leong Chee Loon an Internal Medicine Specialist in Infectious Disease and Prof Dr Victor Hoe a Public Health Medicine Specialist presented the post-vaccination scenario in Malaysia. The webinar is part of the InfoVax-A dose of truth series, it was presented through the Zoom platform and stream live through the MMA Facebook page.

Article written by Victor Hoe

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