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Outbreak 2021: When Anti-Vaxxers Get Upset When The Vaccination Noose Tightens

COVID19 vaccination movenpick malaysia anti-vax

After months of inter-state travel restrictions, the Government had finally allowed inter-state travel effective from 11th October 2021 after the target 90% vaccination had been achieved. Fortunately, the benefit of interstate travel is not open to those who have not been fully vaccinated. Whilst it is good that businesses have picked up due to the ease of interstate travel, one hopes that the strict SOP continued to be followed.

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Latest COVID Data Statistics

As of 23rd October 2021, 23,565,799 or 72.2% of the total population of Malaysia have been fully vaccinated whilst 1,778,402 or 5.4% have been partially vaccinated and soon will be getting their 2nd dose. Understandably the numbers are lower because it includes children below 18 years old.

In terms of adults above 18 years old, 22,109,534 or 94.4% have been fully vaccinated whilst 693,873 or 3.0% have been partially vaccinated. Based on the national vaccination plan, we suppose to reach the target of vaccinating adults in 2022 but thanks to the aggressive vaccination program from July 2021 onwards, we have managed to reach more than 90% by September 2021.

Unfortunately, there is still a large number who have not been vaccinated – about 1,097,775 or 4.7%. of the total adults Seriously what is their excuse to still wait out the vaccination? Medical? Misinformation? Religion? Sheer stupidity?

Almost 1.1 million adults in the country yet to be vaccinated and it is not a small number especially when you consider the percentage of teachers & school staff who have not been vaccinated. Despite the assurances from the Ministry of Education that these unvaccinated teachers will not teach unvaccinated students face to face, it is best that they resign for good unless they have a strong medical reason.

Teachers who refuse to get themselves vaccinated against Covid-19 without any valid reason have been urged to “gracefully resign”.

Parent Action Group for Education (Page) president Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said teachers who refused to get themselves vaccinated can instead provide private tuition online.

The department had said disciplinary action will be taken against civil servants who refused to get vaccinated under the Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 1993.

The exception would be civil servants who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons, in which case they must submit information verified by a government medical officer to their respective head of department.

The Education Ministry had previously said teachers who refuse to be vaccinated against Covid-19 may be transferred elsewhere if their actions cause the Teaching and Learning (PdP) process of students to be affected.

Senior Minister (Education) Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin had said that this is one of the solutions being mulled in the interest of the students’ safety.

(Source: NST)

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Evidence of Vaccinated Transmission

It has been made clear from the very start that getting the vaccination will not mean one cannot get COVID19 infection but rather the risk of death and the implication of further infection will be minimised compared to those who have not been vaccinated.

Ross Kedl, an immunologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, will point out to anyone who cares to listen that basic immunology suggests the virus of a vaccinated person who gets infected will be different from the virus of an infected unvaccinated person.

That’s because vaccinated people have already made antibodies to the coronavirus. Even if those antibodies don’t prevent infection, they still “should be coating that virus with antibody and therefore helping prevent excessive downstream transmission,” Kedl says. And a virus coated with antibodies won’t be as infectious as a virus not coated in antibodies.

Marion Pepper, an immunologist at the University of Washington, says a recent study from the Netherlands looked at how well virus from vaccinated people could infect cells in the lab. Pepper says the answer was not well.

“If you actually isolate virus from people who are getting a secondary infection after being vaccinated, that virus is less good at infecting cells,” Pepper says. “It’s not known why. Is it covered with an antibody? Maybe. Has it been hit by some other kind of immune mediators, cytokines, things like that? Maybe. Nobody really knows. But the virus does seem to be less viable coming from a vaccinated person.”

More studies are emerging that suggest there’s something different about the virus coming from a vaccinated person, something that may help prevent transmission.

(Source: NPR)

There are many instances that show the benefit of vaccination, not only for COVID19 but also for deadly infections. If it is something minor like the common cold, you can take that risk of curing yourself with plenty of rest, a warm bed and perhaps with the good old chicken soup. You cannot do the same with deadly infections that have a high risk of spreading especially to your close family members.

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Strong Action Against Anti-Vaxxers

The danger with anti-vaxxers who stubbornly refuse any vaccination is that they are not only endangering themselves by exposing themselves to COVID19 infections but also endangering others with infection, misinformation and straining the medical frontliners.

The government will take a vigorous approach towards those who refuse to be vaccinated by ‘continuing to make their life difficult,’ said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

However, he said those who cannot be vaccinated due to health reasons will be fine as they would be provided with MySejahtera digital exemption.

“Sorry to say, if you are not vaccinated because you choose not to be vaccinated, then we will make life very difficult for you and continue to make life difficult for you.

“Cannot dine-in at restaurants, cannot go into shopping centres and we will be releasing a National Testing Strategy next week…then we will probably ask you to do regular tests that you have to pay for. The message is to get yourself vaccinated,” he said.

(Source: Malay Mail)

In fact, it has become a crime when anti-vaxxers are not only abstaining from getting vaccination but they also actively spreading misinformation that is causing others from getting vaccination themselves:-

Federal police today said that two investigation papers have been initiated on two individuals believed to be anti-vaxxers.

In a statement this evening, Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department Chief Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan said that the first case is in relation to a viral video of a woman falsely claiming that two children in Ipoh died after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Investigations will be done under Section 505(b), which penalises those who make such remarks with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, and Section 504 of the Penal Code, which is intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of peace.

(Source: Malay Mail)

And finally, after dragging their feet on making COVID19 vaccination mandatory for public servants for a long time now, the government have finally decided to make it mandatory.

The Malaysian government has made vaccination mandatory for all federal civil servants ahead of a planned reopening of the economy in October.

In a statement on Thursday (Sept 30), the Public Service Department (PSD) said that those who refused vaccination without any medical exemptions would be subject to disciplinary action.

“All federal civil servants have to complete their vaccination before Nov 1 2021,” the department said in the statement published on its Facebook page.

(Source: Strait Times)

The problem with the directives to make it mandatory for the public servants to get vaccinated is in the wordings of the directive. It is not done with strong words and gives the impression that disciplinary action may just be subjective and on the decision of the heads of the department.

Vaccination History Infographic

Image source: Statista

Final Say

The question is what is stopping the remaining 1.1 Malaysians from getting the COVID19 vaccine?

Before COVID19, let’s look at polio which is a deadly infection that affects one’s nerve system and this can happen within a few hours. Till now, there is no cure for polio. Thanks to widespread polio vaccination, polio has been eradicated in most developed countries.

In Malaysia, a polio vaccine is administered when the child is just 2 months years old. Polio vaccine is just one of the vaccines administered under the national vaccination program especially for children so that they are protected from the very young. Don’t be surprised if the COVID19 vaccine is included as part of the national vaccination program in future.

Anti-vaxxers on the other hand seem to have a hidden agenda and their petty excuses do not make any sense. They say that they trust their body will be able to fight the virus on its own and thus do not need any form of the vaccine. Let’s not forget that in Malaysia, 28,354 Malaysians had died from COVID19 whilst about 5 million people have died around the world from the same virus.

The Malaysian government is indeed making the right moves by making life harder for anti-vaxxers and the same is happening in other countries where the governments have the right idea to push for herd immunity and bring back some sense of normality. We cannot forget that at one time, our medical frontliners were on the verge of collapsing and causing the pandemic to go out of control.

We need to achieve 100% vaccination one way or another…

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