Malaysia slams vaccine discrimination by some nations, calls for WHO, UN action

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has lambasted the Covid-19 vaccine discrimination practised by certain countries, and urged the United Nations (UN) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to intervene and make appropriate and fair decisions for international travel.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said vaccine discrimination will defeat the purpose of having the vaccine and administering them to the population.

Discriminating the type of vaccine, he said, will only discourage innovation in vaccine manufacturing.

Khairy said any decision made on any ease of restrictions provided to travellers coming in from other nations must be made based on the respective countries' disease control and prevention as well as public health measures, not based on the type of vaccine.

"I note that some countries have stipulated that only people who had received certain vaccines will be exempted from taking the Covid-19 test before departure, undergoing quarantine upon arrival in the country and so on.

"Things like this should not happen because it is important for us to understand that vaccines protect individuals from the risk of getting more severe infections as well as reduce the symptoms of the disease.

"However, the level of immunity protection will be affected by the emergence of new, more violent variants with higher rates of infectiousness.

"Therefore, I urge the UN and the WHO to intervene and take the appropriate and fair decisions in international travel," he said at a special press conference at the ministry, here, today.

Under the United Kingdom's new travel rules, effective Oct 4, travellers to the UK who have had a full course of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, or Janssen vaccines will be subjected to less strict rules for travel.

But Malaysians inoculated with Sinovac would have to follow the rules set for the non-vaccinated.

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