KUCHING, May 8: Former Stampin MP Julian Tan calls on the government to immediately start registering those aged 18 years and below for vaccination, in order to achieve the 80 per cent herd immunity to protect against Covid-19.
Tan, who is also special assistant to Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen, said in Malaysia, 30 per cent of the population are below 18 years old, and experts estimate that it is prudent to have at least 80 per cent of the population vaccinated to induce herd immunity against Covid-19.
“Only then we can keep vulnerable groups who cannot get vaccinated due to existing health conditions safe and protected from Covid-19. Thus, to achieve the 80 per cent, we need to include those 18 years old and below,” he said in a statement today.
Tan noted with the current total registration, the number of vaccines available will steadily climb and surpass that 9.05 million people currently registered for vaccination.
“We need to get at least 26.2 million registered, and only with those age 18 and below can we achieve the 80 per cent mark.
“To beat Covid-19, we need to be prudent and be ahead of the game. Thus we should start registration now for those that are below 18. The decision needs to be swift and not wait till the last minute,” he added.
On the same note, Tan said, as of mid of April, only 2 per cent of Malaysians have received at least one dose as compared to Singapore, which more than 23 per cent of the population have received at least one dose of vaccination.
The low figure in Malaysia, he explained, is due to the non-availability of vaccines and the current supply of vaccines remains well below demand, slowing vaccination.
He opined as of now, the government is simply not doing enough to overcome vaccine hesitancy, while on the ground level, the people are talking about which type of vaccine is the best with no scientific backing.
“The government needs to send a strong message the urgency of getting as many as possible to be vaccinated in the shortest possible time to protect vulnerable populations and allow our economy to reopen safely as soon as possible. The more we drag, the more people are going to suffer in health and economically,” he said.
Tan pointed out that the message must be spread out that the best vaccine is the first one that we can get hold of now.
“The one that can protect us so as not to end up in the hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It is not how effective the vaccines protect us from being infected by the virus, but how effectively each vaccine protects us against severe disease.
“Covid-19 does not discriminate, neither should our response, if we were to succeed in curbing the spread of the viruses,” he said. — DayakDaily