Government looking at booster shots, multi-year vaccination programmes

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KUALA LUMPUR: Booster shots or multi-year vaccination programmes are among the new measures to be taken by the government in its fight against Covid-19.

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The other efforts include whole genome sequencing that is being undertaken by the Institute of Medical Research to detect the presence and spread of new variants in the country, as well as improving the deployment of the Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (FTTTIS) on an end to end basis.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said five measures, including the setting up a dedicated Covid-19 call centre, would be implemented in efforts to galvanise the nation’s healthcare system amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Without a doubt, Covid-19 has shown that public healthcare is an important foundation to enable other sectors to operate.

“As such, we will not compromise on what is required to place our public healthcare on a stronger footing, through the National Recovery Plan and later through the 2022 Budget,” he said today.

Tengku Zafrul said this in his keynote address at the virtual National Recovery Summit organised by KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific and The Economic Club of Kuala Lumpur with the support of the National Recovery Council.

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To encourage the use Covid-19 self test kits, Tengku Zafrul said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry and the Health Ministry were looking into further lowering the products’ ceiling price of RM19.90 by the end of the year.

Beyond the pandemic, he said was the government was studying efforts to strengthen the healthcare system’s resilience and preparedness for future pandemic while meeting the longer term challenges of an ageing population and non-communicable diseases.

Among the policy measures being studied include strengthening national and local mechanisms to detect infectious diseases to stop transmissions at an early stage and develop an integrated epidemic prevention agenda, he said.

“Such reforms will ensure the protection of lives and livelihoods while keeping the economy open for business,” said Tengku Zafrul. -NST