Khairy: 52 education clusters already in just 3 weeks

PUTRAJAYA, 20 Jan 2022:

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today revealed that 52 education clusters had been identified in the first three weeks of this year, up till yesterday (Jan 19).

The said the first week of schooling, which began on Jan 9, saw 15 clusters identified. During the second schooling week that began on Jan 17, the number of new education clusters had more than doubled to 33.

“All states had reported education clusters except for Labuan, Perlis, Sarawak and Terengganu,” he said in a statement.

He noted that 44 out of the 52 education clusters were traced to infections which began with students, with five traced to teachers/lecturers and three involving school support staff. Over half of the education clusters, or 30, involved secondary schools – with 27 related to hostel occupancy.

In view of this rapid rise in education clusters, Khairy said focus will be on regular testing at education facilities and also ramping up vaccination of children aged five to 11 come next month.

This is also due to the fact that from 25 Jan 2020 till yesterday, 579,624 youths younger than 18 had been infected with Covid-19 – with 269,773 involving children aged 5-11. For this group overall, 144 deaths were recorded and 31 were children aged 5-11.

With the Vaksin Comirnaty 10mcg Concentrate for Dispersion (Pfizer-BioNTech) approved as Covid-19 vaccination for this youngest age group, Khairy said results from other countries like Australia, Canada, Israel, Singapore and the US had shown it to be 90.7% effective against serious infection symptoms.

Having one-third the dosage of adult vaccines, the youngest group aged 5-11 would receive two injections eight weeks apart and this vaccination programme will start on Feb 3 – with parents able to register for their children via the MySejahtera app from Jan 31.

To facilitate this vaccination programme among youngsters – aiming to achieve a single jab rate of at least 70% in the subsequent two months and at least 80% fully vaccinated within six months, Khairy urged employers to allow time off for parents to get their children vaccinated.