Dr Noor Hisham: Cancer patients also priority for Covid-19 vaccine, will get jabs under phase 2

Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah during a daily press conference on Covid-19 cases at the Ministry of Health, Putrajaya February 16, 2021. — Bernama pic
Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah during a daily press conference on Covid-19 cases at the Ministry of Health, Putrajaya February 16, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — Cancer patients will be prioritised in the Covid-19 vaccination schedule as they are considered part of the most vulnerable group too, Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today. 

Dr Noor Hisham, during a press conference today, explained that the rollout of the vaccine will be done in several phases starting next month. 

“The first, as we know, will be for the frontliners as they are the most exposed, having to deal with Covid-19 positive cases. The implementation will start in March and we expect it to go on until May. This will involve half a million frontliners. 

“Once that is done, we will move to phase two which will involve the elderly — those who are above 60 and those with mobility problems or in the vulnerable group. This phase involves 9.4 million people. We will give priority to cancer patients as they come under the vulnerable population,” he said. 

Dr Noor Hisham said phase 3 is only expected to begin in August and will cover those who are above 18. 

On February 3, one day before World Cancer Day, a renowned Turkish doctor said cancer patients should be prioritised in the Covid-19 vaccination schedule. 

Dr Yavuz Alsancak, head of the Turkish Radiation Oncology Association, in a statement said fatalities due to Covid-19 among cancer patients are higher than in all other groups. 

Highlighting that cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, he said 18 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year and nearly 10 million people die due to cancer in the world annually.

“Those patients contracting the virus are struggling to overcome both cancer and Covid-19,” he had said. 

He also added that a weakened immune system, complex surgical operations, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy processes also adversely affect those diagnosed with Covid-19.

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