National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) Coordinating Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that he was avoiding the term ‘herd immunity’ as he expected Covid-19 to become prevalent in the foreseeable future.
On an online forum titled “The Path to Herd Immunity” organized by The Oxford & Cambridge Society Malaysia, Khairy explained that Covid-19 would likely become endemic in the country, despite ‘herd immunity’ being the main target of NIP.
He said, “my view, as the coordinating minister, is that looking at the data and science, it could very well be this is endemic and we may see Covid-19, in a less threatening form but it will stay with us for some time.”
“I have stopped using the term ‘herd immunity’, but I have advised the prime minister to be careful when using the term.”
He added, “we will try to immunize as widely as possible. I think the focus on vaccination, while crucial, may actually be slightly misleading because I do believe it’s one tool in an arsenal of measures that you actually require.”
Khairy also said moving forward, he expected Covid-19 to remain within the community, with rapid and cheaper testing being part of everyday life in the country. He also predicted that masks and social distancing would remain.
On a separate matter, Khairy stated that there were ongoing discussions about potentially reducing the 12-week interval between the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in order to better protect against variants by fully vaccinating people more quickly.