Malaysia is expected to see a downward trend of Covid-19 cases from the Omicron variant wave by the end of this month, said Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said this in a question and answer (Q&A) session after delivering a public lecture titled “Steeling Up Against the Omicron Storm, is Malaysia Prepared?” at the Penang Institute on 12 March.
He said the Malaysia is currently seeing signs of declining infection and the same situation could already be seen in other countries such as the United Kingdom and the Philippines, which had seen a downward trend in cases after being at the peak of the Omicron wave over a month ago.
In the event, Dr Noor Hisham said the daily cases were expected to reduce soon based on the herd immunity approach through mass vaccination.
He explained that about 99% of the country’s adult population had received their Covid-19 vaccination while about 3 million people had recovered from the infection, which gave them immunisation against the Omicron variant.
“Our only fear now is if there is a new Covid-19 variant that is more dangerous, easily transmissible and immune to the vaccine. So, we need to be prepared to face this possibility.”
“For now, we know the Omicron variant responds to the vaccine we give which is a good thing.” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham also hoped that the herd immunisation approach was taken by the government, namely by vaccination, will curb the spread of Covid-19 cases and that the daily cases continue to decline as shown in other countries.
On the other hand, he said that although the country is heading towards the endemic phase, Covid-19 is still considered a pandemic among those who were not vaccinated.
He pointed out that the data on infection rates, hospitalisation, treatment in intensive care units, deaths and others showed the unvaccinated are at a higher risk of infection and getting serious Covid.
“Apart from the hard-to-convince anti-vaccine group, there are also those who take a wait-and-see approach because they are worried about the health risks of taking the vaccine.”
“I have never said that vaccination has no side effects because all vaccines have side effects.”
“However, the majority of the effects are not serious (mild) while for those who are at risk of other diseases, the effects can be managed,” he said.