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53.5 Per Cent of Malaysian Population Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14– A total of 17,480,766 or 53.5 per cent of the country’s population are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of yesterday.

According to Ministry of Health’s (MOH) data on https://covidnow.moh.gov.my, a sum of 21,573,348 or 66 per cent of the population have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“For daily vaccination, 227,147 doses were administered yesterday, bringing the total doses administered under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) to 38,990,335.

As of 11.59 pm yesterday (Sept 13), 104 actual deaths of COVID-19 were recorded, together with 309 were backlog deaths.

The latest figures brought the death toll due to COVID-19 in Malaysia to 21,124.

Sources: BERNAMA

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No Haste To Inoculate Children Below 12, A Wise Move – Experts

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18  — Experts have thrown their support behind the government’s move to wait for the results of studies and obtain adequate data on the effectiveness and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 before deciding to inoculate the group, describing it as a wise decision.

Malaysian Doctors Club (MDC) founder, Dr Muhammad Hakim Nordin said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s move not to make a hasty decision on the matter was also practical.

“…they (children) are a low-risk group…then why should we subject the children to something (vaccination) that we are still not sure whether it is safe and effective.

“As far as I know, the WHO (World Health Organisation) has yet to recommend vaccination for children under 12,” he told Bernama.

Dr Muhammad Hakim said although some vaccine producers had confirmed the safety and effectiveness of their products, it was up to the WHO to determine whether the vaccines were safe for children under 12.

Khairy had previously said that talks were being held with a vaccine producer to procure COVID-19 vaccine for kids below 12 years old. The firm is preparing to send relevant data to every governing body worldwide including to Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Tuanku Muhriz Chancellor’s Hospital senior clinical lecturer and consultant paediatric immunologist, Dr Adli Ali said he believed the government was in the midst of evaluating several types of vaccines to be administered to the group.

He said having adequate data would increase parents’ confidence to allow their children to be vaccinated.

“I believe that they (the government) have also taken into account some data (from various vaccine producers) including Sinovac which has released data saying that the vaccine is safe for children aged 6 to 12,” he said.

Meanwhile, clinical microbiologist specialist from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim), Assoc Prof Dr Nurul Azmawati Mohamed said deciding whether or not to vaccinate children under 12 was no easy task.

She said although clinical trials have shown that the vaccine is safe and effective for children abroad, the test report should be reviewed by experts from the WHO as well as the Health Ministry.

Sources: BERNAMA

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Handy Way To Keep Infections At Bay

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KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – If there is one major takeaway from the unprecedented health crisis that swept the world some 19 months ago, it would have to be the importance of practising good hand hygiene.

With many nations, including Malaysia, heading towards the COVID-19 endemic phase, it has become more pertinent than ever for people to make handwashing a habit.

Regular washing of hands, particularly after using the toilet or before handling food, can greatly reduce the risk of diarrhoea or contracting contagious diseases such as hand, foot and mouth disease, in the case of children, and of course COVID-19.

UiTM Medical Centre family medicine consultant Dr Ilham Ameera Ismail said hands are among the parts of the body that are most exposed to the surrounding environment as they are used repeatedly every day for a thousand and one purposes such as writing, holding things, opening doors, eating, making payments and even washing the private parts after using the toilet.

“Handwashing may seem trivial but lack of hand hygiene can cause health problems. Handwashing is the easiest way to prevent infections,” she told Bernama, adding that unwashed hands are not only excellent breeding grounds for germs but also serve as the medium for germs to spread from one place to another.

Unwashed hands can also carry contaminants such as faecal matter and chemicals.

“Just imagine, one gram of human faecal matter alone contains one trillion germs,” she said, adding that some individuals, out of habit, like to touch their face with their hands.

“When a person does this, the germs on their contaminated hands can enter the body through their eyes, nose or mouth.”

COVID-19 AND ITS LINK TO HANDWASHING

In the context of the ongoing pandemic, Dr Ilham Ameera, who is also an occupational health doctor, said the virus that causes COVID-19 is easily transmitted via nasal or oral droplets from an infected person.

“If an infected person sneezes or coughs openly, the droplets will fall on exposed surfaces. If the nose or mouth is covered with the hands (whilst sneezing or coughing) and the hands are left unwashed, the virus can spread to any surface the contaminated hands come into contact with. Then, other people who touch the same surface can get infected by the virus too,” she explained.

She said when hands are washed using the proper technique, it can cut the risk of diarrhoea by between 23 and 40 percent.

“It can also reduce the risk of contracting (infectious) respiratory diseases by 16 to 20 percent,” she said, adding that one in three diarrhoea cases and one in five respiratory infections can be prevented by keeping one’s hands clean.

WASH FOR A MINIMUM OF 20 SECONDS

Handwashing has its own correct technique which people have to comply with to ensure their hands are cleansed thoroughly.

Dr Ilham Ameera said hands must be washed with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds or, better still, 40 to 60 seconds.

“The frequency of handwashing will depend on how much you use them and you need to wash your hands each time they are soiled. After washing your hands, dry them with a clean cloth or tissue or use the hand dryer. There’s no point in washing your hands and then drying them with a dirty cloth,” she said.

On the current trend of using a sanitiser for hand cleansing purposes, she said while sanitising liquids can kill germs, they cannot, however, completely remove faecal matter and obvious impurities.

“If using a sanitiser, rub the liquid on your hands for 20 to 30 seconds. If you use it repeatedly and your hands start to feel sticky, then it is time to wash them with soap and water,” she added.

AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

In order for people to incorporate hand hygiene into their daily lives, they should be made aware of the importance of cultivating the handwashing habit starting at an early age.

Based on this approach, Unilever Malaysia – which manufactures various homecare, beauty and personal care, and food and refreshment products – has been carrying out campaigns to promote personal hygiene since a decade ago.

Unilever Malaysia-Singapore marketing manager (Beauty and Personal Care) Lenny Chuah said 10 years ago the company launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), a set of goals for their global business designed to help make sustainable living commonplace around the world.

Under USLP, the company’s Lifebuoy soap brand set itself the ambitious target of improving the handwashing behaviours of more than one billion people worldwide.

“To achieve the target, Lifebuoy carried out the largest-ever behaviour changing programme involving schoolchildren,” she said, adding that in Malaysia, public awareness on handwashing has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the nation.

“Based on a 2020 evaluation on Knowledge and Hand Hygiene Practice Among Preschool Children in the Klang Valley, it was found that a majority of preschool children acquired knowledge of handwashing from their parents, with 63 percent of them demonstrating the correct technique of washing hands,” she added.

Chuah said since children under the age of 12 are not included in the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, getting them to keep their hands clean all the time is the most effective way to avoid infection.

“Children are naturally curious and are inclined to touch anything they set their eyes on, which can expose them to all kinds of infections, including COVID-19.

“It must be noted that children with (underlying) health issues face a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19,” she said, adding that washing their hands with water alone is not enough to get rid of germs or viruses.

“Parents are advised to use hand cleansers that contain at least 60 to 80 percent alcohol to trigger quick and optimal antimicrobial action.”

EDUCATE VIA VIDEOS         

Meanwhile, private-sector employee Noor Hasliza Nusi, 38, said she has been imparting hand hygiene knowledge to her children through social media videos where they also learned the correct handwashing techniques.

“In the beginning, I used to explain the whole procedure to them but they didn’t seem to understand, so I showed them the relevant videos so that they can learn how to wash their hands properly. The videos also instilled into them the importance of handwashing, especially in this new normal era,” she said.

Sarina Aziz, 35, who is a teaching assistant at the preschool at Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Medan in Petaling Jaya, said the pre-schoolers are constantly reminded to practice the seven handwashing steps, namely wetting their hands and applying enough soap to create a good lather, rubbing their palms together, cleaning each finger and thumb, rubbing the fingernails on the palm, rubbing the back of their hands, washing their hands with sufficient clean water and using a clean cloth to dry their hands.

“It’s important for us to keep reminding them to make sure their hands are clean before they touch their food,” she added.

Sources: BERNAMA

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(Video) Booster Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine, This Is What We Know So Far

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Recently, the particular topic of booster dose for COVID-19 vaccine has taken the world by storm. According to the news, a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine is actually an additional dose of a vaccine given to people after the protection provided by the original shots has begun to decrease over time. Typically, you would get a booster after the immunity from the initial doses naturally starts to wane. The booster is designed to help people maintain their level of immunity longer. That means people all over the world would have longer immunization against COVID-19.

Although COVID-19 vaccination for adults aged 65 years and older remains effective in preventing severe disease, vaccination is less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms. Emerging evidence also shows that among healthcare and other frontline workers, vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infections is decreasing over time. This lower effectiveness is likely due to the combination of decreasing protection as time passes.

According to the recent Facebook post of the Ministry of Health Malaysia, they will start to administer the booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Malaysia for senior citizens aged 60-years-old and above. The booster dose would also be given to frontline workers who have received a complete dose of the vaccine at least 6 months ago. Eligible individuals for the booster dose will be notified through the MySejahtera app. For those who do not have the app, notification will be given using text message or even call from the Vaccination Center.

A third dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines is actually identical to the first two doses. It can help protect people with weakened immune systems who did not have a strong enough response to the first two doses of one of the mRNA vaccines. Such people can get a third dose as soon as 28 days after a second dose. The FDA has authorized, and the CDC recommends, that those with certain medical conditions that suppress the immune system get a third dose of the same brand of COVID-19 vaccine that they initially received.

Who Can Get Booster Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine?

1) Older Adults And 50 To 64-Year-Old People With Medical Conditions

People aged 65 years and older and adults 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should get a booster dose of vaccine. The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, and can also increase for adults of any age with underlying medical conditions.

2) Long-Term Care Setting Residents Aged 18 Years And Older

Residents aged 18 years and older of long-term care settings should get a booster dose of vaccine. Because residents in long-term care settings external icons live closely together in group settings and are often older adults with underlying medical conditions, they are at increased risk of infection and severe illness from COVID-19.

3) People With Medical Conditions Aged 18-49 Years

People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may get a booster dose of vaccine based on their individual benefits and risks. Adults aged 18–49 years who have underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. However, that risk is likely not as high as it would be for adults aged 50 years and older who have underlying medical conditions.

4) Employees And Residents At Increased Risk For COVID-19 Exposure And Transmission

People aged 18–64 years at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster dose of vaccine based on their individual benefits and risks. Adults, who aged 18–64 years who work or reside in certain settings may be at increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19, which could be spreading where they work or reside.

Sources: YouTube World Health Organization, Ministry of Health Malaysia.

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