Forty healthcare workers who were fully vaccinated have contracted Covid-19, said Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, stressing the importance of keeping one’s guard up against the virus.
The director-general of health said the 40 were infected after they had received the full course of the vaccine.
“Nine cases were infected more than two weeks after the second dose, and 31 cases were infected less than two weeks after the second dose of inoculation,” Dr Noor Hisham said on Facebook today.
He said 142 healthcare workers were infected after receiving the first dose, but they experienced “less severe” symptoms.
“It is clear that we can still be infected after complete vaccination but perhaps with less severity,” he said.
“No one is safe until everyone is safe. Please continue to comply with all the precautionary public health measures,” he said.
Pfizer told The Malaysian Insight in December that recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will have partial protection 12 days after the first dose.
Recipients will develop more than 90% immunity seven days or more following the second dose.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that vaccination protects an individual from getting seriously ill and dying from Covid-19.
It said that for the first 14 days after getting a vaccination, an individual does not have significant levels of protection before it increases gradually.
“For a single-dose vaccine, immunity will generally occur two weeks after vaccination. For two-dose vaccines, both doses are needed to provide the highest level of immunity possible,” it said.
Besides the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, Malaysia has started administering the Sinovac vaccine developed in China.
The vaccine is said to be 67% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 infections and has 80% protection against death, a recent study by the Chilean government showed.
Malaysia’s vaccination programme began on February 24 with the first phase for 500,000 frontline workers.
In the second phase next week, the government aims to inoculate 9.4 million people in high-risk groups such as the elderly, those with pre-existing chronic health conditions, and the disabled.
The objective is to vaccinate at least 80% of the population to achieve herd immunity.
As of April 15, more than 434,000 people have been fully vaccinated.
Health authorities have warned of a possible fourth wave of the outbreak as the number of new infections continues to rise.
There were 2,551 fresh infections yesterday which raised the country’s caseload to 370,528. The death toll rose to 1,365.