KUALA LUMPUR, 17 August 2023 – The Malaysian Society of Infection Control and Infectious Disease (MyICID), the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM), and the Malaysian Red Crescent (MRCS), in collaboration with Pfizer Malaysia, launched MyPELINDUNG, a public educational campaign aimed at guiding our society towards a more informed and healthier nation, mitigating the threat of COVID-19 by increasing awareness on the importance of up to date vaccination and prompt COVID-19 specific treatment seeking behaviour.
The event was witnessed by Her Highness Dato’ Seri DiRaja Tan Sri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz binti Almarhum Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, Tunku Temenggong Kedah, National Chairperson of the Malaysian Red Crescent; Datuk Dr Norhayati Binti Rusli, Deputy Director-General of Public Health, Ministry of Health; Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Michelle Yeoh, Oscar-Winning Actress, as well as Dr Shaharudeen Bin Kamaludeen, President, MyICID; Dato Dr. Saunthari Somasundaram, President, NCSM; Prof. Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail, Chairman, Immunise4Life; Madam Luksanawan Thangpaibool, Country Cluster Lead, Pfizer Malaysia, Pakistan and Brunei; and invited guests.
“Just as it takes many drops to form an ocean, our shared actions — however small they may seem — can create a significant impact in the fight against COVID-19. It’s through initiatives like MyPELINDUNG that we can harness our collective strength to navigate this health issue.
“Together, with the strength of unity and shared responsibility, we can contribute to a healthier, safer nation for all Malaysians.
“Our role in this endeavour reflects the spirit of the Malaysian Red Crescent — humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity, and universality.
“In the face of this enduring battle against COVID-19, these principles guide our every action,” said Yang Teramat Mulia Dato’ Seri Diraja Tan Sri Tunku Puteri Intan Safinaz Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah, National Chairperson of the Malaysian Red Crescent.
While Malaysia has made significant strides, COVID-19 continues to remain a health concern. The virus continues to circulate in our communities and can still lead to hospitalisations and, unfortunately, even death, particularly among high-risk groups.
An endemic disease is one that remains present within a community at all times, but the number of infections fluctuates within relatively predictable parameters.
However, an endemic stage does not signal the disappearance of the disease. Instead, it means that we must learn to coexist with it safely.
In the context of COVID-19, this involves maintaining vigilance, updating vaccinations, adhering to recommended health measures, and promptly seeking COVID-19 specific treatment if tested positive,.
The MyPELINDUNG campaign is a testament to the power of collaboration, as it has united various sectors with the common goal of raising health literacy among Malaysians.
It underscores the commitment of healthcare stakeholders in partnering with the government to inform and educate the public, dispelling myths about the COVID-19 virus and the vaccination process, thus, fostering a healthier and safer society that is empowered to make informed health decisions.
Vaccines play a critical role in preventing severe illness, hospitalisation, and deaths5
Malaysia has made significant progress in its early COVID-19 vaccination drive, with 84.3 per cent of the population now having completed their primary vaccination series, while, 50 per cent of the populace have stepped forward to receive their first booster dose.
However, the uptake of the second booster dose lags noticeably behind. Currently, a mere 2.5 per cent of the population, equating to 824,715 individuals, have received this additional safeguard7.
MyPELINDUNG aims to alleviate hesitancy around booster doses by disseminating scientifically accurate information and addressing common concerns.
The campaign’s efforts are particularly focused on high-risk groups, where up-to-date vaccination — including booster doses — can reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalisation, and death5.
Dr Shaharudeen Bin Kamaludeen, President of MyICID, underscored the urgency of staying up-to-date with recommended vaccinations, saying, “It’s paramount that we understand the critical role vaccinations play in mitigating the severity of COVID-19.
Vaccinations, including recommended booster doses, are our primary line of defence against this virus. Prompt medical consultation and treatment after a positive test for COVID-19 is equally vital.
Together, they are instrumental in reducing the likelihood of severe illness, hospitalisation, and tragically, death5,6.”
Prof. Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail, Chairman of Immunise4Life, echoed the sentiments of Dr Shaharudeen, emphasizing the crucial role of vaccinations, stating, “Maintaining up-to-date vaccination status is not merely advisable—it’s life-saving.
“Full vaccination significantly reduces the risk of severe disease outcomes. We urge everyone, particularly those in high-risk groups, to consider vaccinations as their personal shield against the virus, and to remember that this shield is most robust when all recommended doses, including boosters, have been administered.”
Oscar-winning actress, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Michelle Yeoh, further reinforced the message, stating, “As a frequent traveller, I understand that vaccinations are not just protecting my own health, but also creating a shield of protection around my world, my loved ones.
“Our top priority continues to be getting vaccines into arms. We must maintain up-to-date vaccination status. Equally important is seeking immediate medical attention or asking your doctor when symptoms arise5,6.“
Prompt COVID-19 specific treatment key for high-risk groups
Being aged 60 or older, having medical conditions such as diabetes, chronic lung conditions like asthma, or even lifestyle factors such as current or former smoking habits, depression, or being overweight can increase the likelihood of severe illness, and even hospitalisation, from a COVID-19 infection.
As soon as it is known that an individual or their loved one falls into a high-risk category, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional to discuss proactive steps to take in case of a COVID-19 infection.
Having an action plan in place if a positive test result is received, or COVID-19 symptoms develop, can enable quick response and management of the situation5,9.
Dato Dr. Saunthari Somasundaram, President of NCSM urged individuals to take immediate action if they fall into a high-risk category or show symptoms of COVID-19, “No one should bear the burden of illness in silence, especially high-risk groups.
“People aged 60 and above or those with underlying health conditions including lung or heart diseases, diabetes, cancer or other conditions affecting the immune system increases their vulnerability to severe COVID-199.
“Thus, early treatment even symptoms are mild becomes crucial, it can change your story5,6.”
“The most important thing to remember about treatment for COVID-19 is that it should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis to be effective.
“If you test positive for COVID-19, treatments are available that can reduce the likelihood of severe illness including hospitalization and death.
“Please don’t delay because COVID-19 specific treatment must be started within days after you first develop symptoms to be effective5,6,” added Dato Dr. Saunthari Somasundaram.
Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, further reinforced the message, stating, “On screen, I’ve navigated flying stunts and leapt off moving vehicles, but life isn’t an action film, and we can’t afford to wait for the dramatic last-minute rescue.
“If you’re showing any symptoms, act fast, seek help at once. Remember, COVID-19 is now treatable. We can save lives5,6.”
MyPELINDUNG: Empowering Malaysians for a healthier tomorrow
A range of interactive activities will be collaboratively organized by the campaign partners to foster health literacy among the public.
These will leverage the extensive reach of the MyPELINDUNG Facebook page, featuring engaging social media content designed to educate and inform.
Additionally, livestreams featuring esteemed medical experts, patients sharing firsthand experiences, and influential personalities will provide real-time interactions and valuable insights into the COVID-19 landscape.
Mobile community events will also be part of this strategic initiative, allowing direct community engagement and information dissemination.
“At Pfizer, we have always recognised the transformative power of strategic partnerships. By joining forces, we can leverage our collective resources, expertise, and insights to drive impactful and meaningful change on a global scale.
“The MyPELINDUNG initiative is a shining example of this collaborative spirit in Malaysia. It allows us to work hand-in-hand with those at the vanguard of public health, contributing directly to a cause that has universal significance – combating COVID-19,” said Madam Luksanawan Thangpaibool, Country Cluster Lead, Pfizer Malaysia, Pakistan and Brunei.
“Our mission at Pfizer extends beyond delivering innovative healthcare solutions. We’re committed to ensuring that these innovations are not only accessible but also inclusive, and designed to truly serve the communities we stand alongside.
“This ethos is particularly significant in our role as a corporate partner in the MyPELINDUNG campaign,” added Madam Luksanawan.
Take action today to protect yourself and your loved ones. Get vaccinated and ensure you are up-to-date with recommended doses, including booster shots.
Remember, vaccination is crucial in reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and even death from COVID-195.
If you test positive for COVID-19 or experience symptoms, don’t delay. Seek COVID-19 specific treatment and follow the guidance of healthcare professionals. Early intervention can make a significant difference in managing the disease and saving lives5,6.
For more information about the MyPELINDUNG initiative and its efforts to combat COVID-19, please visit https://www.facebook.com/MyPELINDUNG. Together, let’s forge a healthier and safer nation for all Malaysians.
 Scientific American. World COVID Emergency Status Is Over, but Dangerous Threat Remains. Last accessed: 7 Aug 2023. Retrieved from: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/world-covid-emergency-status-is-over-but-dangerous-threat-remains/
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 CodeBlue. Do We Still Need To Worry About Covid-19? – Dr Leong Chee Loon & Dr Muhammad Yazli Yuhana. Last accessed: 7 Aug 2023. Retrieved from: https://codeblue.galencentre.org/2023/05/12/do-we-still-need-to-worry-about-covid-19-dr-leong-chee-loon-dr-muhammad-yazli-yuhana/
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). COVID-19 Treatments and Medications. Last Accessed: 2 August 2023. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/treatments-for-severe-illness.html
 Vaccinate Your Family. Vaccine Benefits. Last Accessed: 2 August 2023. Retrieved from: https://vaccinateyourfamily.org/why-vaccinate/vaccine-benefits/
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People with Certain Medical Conditions. Last accessed: 2 August 2023. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html