#kerajaangagal171 – When will Malaysia have more than half its population fully vaccinated against Covid-19, which is the first step to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic

More than a year ago on 24th April 2020, I suggested the establishment of a Covid-19 Pandemic Study Centre to learn from the successes and mistakes of other nations so that we can be effective and efficient in our war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

But like the many constructive suggestions that I had made last year how best to fight to Covid-19 pandemic, it fell on deaf ears.

We were once some 50 positions behind China, the country where the pandemic started and which had a population 40 times that of Malaysia, in cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, but we are now 68 rankings ahead of China, as we are ranked No. 33 among countries in the world with most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, as Malaysia has 844,870 Covid-19 cases while China is ranked No. 101 with 92,095 cases.

The latest lesson from the United States on vaccination are useful for Malaysia - the staggering difference in Covid-19 cases between states with high vaccination rates and states which are lagging.

Over the past week, states in the U.S. that have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents have reported an average Covid-19 case rate that is about a third of that in states which have fully vaccinated less than half of their residents.

Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas are the only states to have fully vaccinated fewer than 35% of their residents. Average daily case rates in each state were among the 10 worst in United States last week.

Vermont leads the nation with about 66% of its population fully vaccinated -- and while case rates there increased compared to last week, the state still had the lowest case rate in the United States last week, with an average of less than one new case per 100,000 people each day.

States that have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents reported an average of 2.8 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people each day last week, compared to an average of about 7.8 cases per 100,000 people each day in states that have vaccinated less than half of their residents.

There is the further information that more than 99% of the US Covid-19 deaths in June were among unvaccinated people.

Yesterday, the Health Minister Adham Baba announced that 3,26,676 people had received their second dose of the vaccine and 7,840,034 people received their first dose.

As Malaysia has achieved less than 11% of the population fully vaccinated after four months of the national immunisation rollout, when will Malaysia be able to have more than half of the population fully vaccinated and what are the plans to accelerate this objective of the national vaccination rollout which is the first step to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic?

Community activist Dr. Mohamad Rafick Khan has blogged on the importance of the government presenting meaningful information for public consumption.

He said that in past few months, the Malaysian public had been given information which created a sense of anxiety and the feeling of hopelessness, when Malaysians wanted hope, able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to know what the government was doing to make them safe.

He called for a serious rethink of the government communication package and strategy.

He said if the vaccination program had been rolled out based on risk groups, the death rates and ICU beds utilization rates would have come down by now.

He described the death rates and ICU beds availability as indirect indicators of the success of the vaccination program. Right now, it pointed to a mid-term failure.

Is the government prepared to enhance transparency and improve its communication content and strategy?

Yesterday, there was a 15-minute video by Projek Bangsa Malaysia featuring only audio of people said to be front-line workers, projecting an image of a “sinking” public healthcare system in the Klang Valley.

The recording is said to have been made on July 9, when there was a live stream of Klang Valley medical frontliners sharing their personal accounts anonymously.

“It’s like a ship that’s sinking, you know? People are really trying to keep the ship afloat but these people are putting holes right into the ship,” one of them says.

She adds that there is an urgent need for more equipment, especially oxygen tanks, with another individual saying that one canister needed to be shared among five other patients.

“We are replacing oxygen canisters by the hour,” another says.

In the age of social media, the Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin cannot pretend that such a video does not exist.

Malaysians expect a truthful response from the government.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri