Minister calls on public to be part of study

James Kon & Izah Azahari

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar yesterday called on the public to step forward to be part of a collaborative research study to determine participants’ anti-body response towards vaccination.

The collaborative study is carried out by the Ministry of Health (MoH), Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Duke-NUS Medical School of Duke University in Singapore.

“The plan was to get 4,000 individuals. However, only 1,188 responded, 490 of whom agreed to participate,” the minister said at the daily press conference yesterday, adding that “the findings will help the country determine what is needed next, in terms of vaccines and boosters”.

Providing an update on the national vaccination status, the minister said 357,604 individuals (or 83.2 per cent of the population) were fully vaccinated as of December 6, while 404,557 (or 94.1 per cent of the population) received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

On December 6, a total of 5,524 individuals were inoculated.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar speaks at the press conference. PHOTO: JAMES KON

The vaccination coverage rate among those aged 60 years and above “has exceeded 98 per cent (both doses).”

Meanwhile, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said only certain individuals are eligible to receive the Regeneron treatment, which is used only in emergency situations. To date, 80 individuals have been treated with Regeneron.

“The treatment is to prevent the worsening of COVID-19 symptoms, such as preventing a Category 2 patient from slipping into Category 3. Not everyone is eligible as there is a criteria for it, among which, the individual has to be an adult,” the minister said.

Individuals who receive the anti-body drug, will have to wait a 90-day period before getting the first COVID-19 dose, while partially vaccinated individuals who are treated with Regeneron will have to delay their second dose appointment.