A medical staff member comforts an elderly man before administering a dose of the Sinovac Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Kuala Lumpur on June 21, 2021. ( AFP / Mohd Rasfan)

Posts share misleading claim about Covid-19 vaccination requirements in Malaysia

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A video of Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob making an announcement has been viewed thousands of times on social media alongside a claim that the Southeast Asian country's Covid-19 vaccination requirements have been "abolished". This is misleading. The video shows Ismail Sabri speaking at a press conference on March 8, 2022, during which he said vaccination requirements would be abolished for interstate travel and some workplaces. As of April 8, 2022, some activities in Malaysia — such as recreational sports, religious gatherings and dining in restaurants — require participants to have received at least the primary dose of a Covid vaccine.

The video of Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri giving a press statement was shared here on Facebook on March 22, 2022.

The post's Malaysian-language caption translates to English as: "Take note. Vaccination status has been abolished."

Text superimposed on the video also says: "Vaccination Status Abolished."

In the 30-second clip, Ismail Sabri says in Malaysian language: "Regarding the need for vaccination, the capacity limit of employees which previously depended on vaccination coverage [for employees] will be abolished.

"All individuals are allowed to make interstate travel regardless of their vaccination status.

"So it will not arise, if there's a booster or no booster, they can make interstate travel and so on, including for workers."

A screenshot of the misleading post captured on April 5, 2022.

More than 67 percent of Malaysia's adult population have received a third Covid-19 jab, official Malaysian government statistics show.

The video has been viewed more than 7,900 times after it was shared alongside a similar claim on Facebook here, here and here; and on TikTok here.

Comments on the posts indicated that some social media users were misled.

One person wrote: "So this means we do not need the booster?"

Another said: "Those who got the shot got tricked...Got tricked by [Health Minister Khairy Jamaludin] until they died".

Below is a screenshot of some misled Facebook comments:

Screenshot of Facebook comments, taken on April 6, 2022

The claim, however, is misleading.

Pandemic regulations

Ismail Sabri's announcement can be seen in this video from local media outlet KiniTV and this video from Malaysian broadcaster TV3 — both were published on March 8, 2022.

During that event, he announced Malaysia would "transition toward endemicity" from April 1, 2022, and pandemic regulations would be relaxed.

In the speech, he says vaccination requirements will be dropped for interstate travel and some workplaces from April 1, 2022.

Details of the loosening regulations can be seen here.

Vaccination requirements

As of April 8, 2022, there are currently seven Covid-19 vaccines being offered in Malaysia: AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Sinovac, Sinopharm, Johnson & Johnson and CanSino.

Government guidelines for the "full vaccination" status depend on the type of vaccine and the age of recipients.

Below are the guidelines for the "full vaccination" status:

Government guidelines for the "full vaccination" status

As of April 8, 2022, most activities in Malaysia require participants to at least receive the primary dose, as explained here.

This includes recreational sports, religious gatherings and dining in restaurants.

People who have not received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or are unvaccinated can only participate in "essential activities", such as buying food and basic necessities or going to school or work.

The full list of "essential activities" is also included in the same government guidelines, published on April 1, 2022:

  1. Buying food, drinks and basic necessities;
  2. Staying in hotels, guest accommodations and homestays;
  3. Obtaining medical and health services including laboratories and
  4. Attending activities related to career or continuity of livelihood such as
    school, examination, seminars, work and interviews;
  5. Banking including pawn shops;
  6. Wedding, marriage registrations and divorce proceedings;
  7. Non-contact sports and recreational activities in outdoor areas;
  8. Travelling using air, land and sea transports including interstate travel; and
  9. Other activities that involves emergency situations such moving to
    Temporary Evacuation Centre.