PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has started discussions with pharmaceutical companies on possibly securing Covid-19 booster shots, as well as vaccines for children, by next year, says Khairy Jamaluddin.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Minister clarified that even while discussions are ongoing, recommendations from local health experts concerning the need for a booster dose will be given next week.
“I have listened to feedback from MPs that we should make better and faster preparations (to secure the vaccines) in the years to come.
“There are several countries who have booked the vaccines for the year 2022, there may be a need for a third dose or a second booster shot, and also vaccinations for children.
“As such, two weeks ago, I started negotiations with vaccine manufacturers such as Pfizer for Malaysia to finalise vaccine procurement for 2022.
“We have a special focus on Pfizer’s new products, which are specifically for booster shots and for children,” he said in Parliament on Wednesday (July 28).
He stressed however that they are still waiting for recommendations by a group of health experts led by Institute for Clinical Research director, Dr Kalaiarasu Peariasamy.
“In the next week, they will give recommendations on whether we need a booster dose or not.
“The recommendations will not just cover whether we need a booster dose, but we will also look into whether we should do heterologous vaccination,” he said, referring to the administration of a different vaccine for the booster shot.
For example, in developed countries, attempts are being made to assess the efficacy of using mRNA vaccines such as Comirnaty (from Pfizer-BioNTech) as a second shot for those who received the AstraZeneca vaccine for their first shot.
A heterologous vaccination regime is thought of as a way to increase the level of protection for the recipient, other than managing the level of risk of adverse effects, or supply shocks when one vaccine is in very short supply.