Khairy Says Herd Immunity Not Achievable Due To Delta Variant

Source: The Straits Times – Khairy Jamaluddin

This article first appeared on World of Buzz

Summary
  • Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin told the Parliament that the Ministry of Health (KKM) will no longer use the conventional formula of achieving herd immunity with at least 80% vaccination of the country’s adult population due to the highly infectious delta variant.
  • Global health experts have stopped using this formula and are focusing on getting as many people vaccinated as possible instead due to the Delta variant.

Khairy Says Herd Immunity Not Achievable Due To Delta Variant

With the latest announcement by the Health Ministry, stating that we have finally reached the targeted percentage to reach herd immunity, which is at 80%, it might come as a joy for many Malaysians. The concept of reaching herd immunity as the path to get back to our normal lives was often covered extensively by the media and the press — raising high hopes for everyone. Sadly, that’s not the case now. The Ministry of Health (KKM) will no longer use the conventional formula of achieving herd immunity with at least 80% vaccination of the country’s adult population. This is because the Covid-19 delta variant has made achieving herd immunity challenging.

Clarifying this, Minister of Health Khairy Jamaluddin told Astro Astro Awani that global health experts have stopped using this formula and are focusing on getting as many people vaccinated as possible instead due to the Delta variant. Quoting his words, Khairy said, “I, as Health Minister, am no longer using the herd immunity term. When we started the vaccination programme, we used the conventional formula to measure the herd immunity which was 80% (of the adult population). This was stated during the parliament sitting on 23rd September. 

Adding on, he said, “That was before the spread of the Delta variant. This variant has basically thrown out the herd immunity calculation and it’s difficult to say when we will achieve herd immunity. That is why we should no longer be looking at herd immunity. Instead, we should be looking at the widest vaccination possible.”

This response was directed at Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan who questioned why infections and fatalities from Covid-19 in the country have been on the rise despite 80% of the adult population being fully vaccinated. 

Khairy did mention some good news though. According to him, even though the number of Covid-19 cases is still high, important indicators have shown that infections have started showing a downward trend, giving hope to the country’s recovery process. He stated, “Compared to the situation a month ago, which was on 23 August, the bed usage involved 14,942 cases but today, the number has dropped to 10,321. The need for the intensive care units (ICU) involved 1,542 cases but today, the number has declined to 1,114. On average, there were 251 cases over a seven-day period in August but the figure has dropped to 106. Of the current active cases recorded, 83% are under Categories 1 and 2 who only require quarantine at home; 10.7% were sent to the Low-Risk Covid-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centres (PKRC); 5.1% are admitted to the hospitals and 0.5% require ventilators and intensive treatment.”

Source: Nursing Centre – Herd Immunity

Moreover, Khairy also mentioned in order to prevent an uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 in Malaysia, KKM will continue to enhance public health measures in flattening the curve and breaking transmission via the Find, Test, Trace, Isolate, and Support (FTTIS) strategy.

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