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Lightning Never Strikes Twice, But Covid Might

Recovering from Covid-19 is indeed a cause for celebration but you may not be out of the woods yet. Epidemiologist Prof. Datuk Dr Awang Bulgiba Awang Mahmud, who is currently head of the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry’s Independent Covid-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee stated that we may still be at risk of reinfection.

Such cases, although rare, have surfaced in countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, United States and Belgium resulting in 2 deaths with the majority making a recovery. Prof. Datuk Dr Awang then added that the time between initial infection and reinfection occurs in a span of 85 days. For instance in Singapore where a foreign worker who had initially tested positive and recovered in January 2020, was reinfected just 4 months later.

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Although the Covid-19 vaccine has been distributed and administered, Prof. Datuk Dr Awang stated that the vaccine will not fully prevent reinfection if an individual is exposed to a mutated variant of the Covid-19 virus, but it will serve a purpose in partially suppressing it. Further research will be needed to identify if the current vaccines can shield us from the newer variants of the virus.

In Malaysia, there appears to be a significant lack of data surrounding reinfection cases. As such, Prof. Datuk Dr Awang implores Malaysians to maintain strict protocols such as wearing a mask, social distancing and constantly washing your hands. He also mentioned that it is better to get vaccinated later on as it is likely that the antibody protection will degenerate six to 8 months after infection.

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