Covid-19: Health Ministry now offering voluntary booster shots to eligible recipients

KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry will now offer voluntary Covid-19 vaccine booster shots to eligible recipients.

Frontliners, as well as those over the age of 60 who received their last dose over six months ago, will be notified through MySejahtera.

Those without the app will receive a text message or phone call from a vaccination centre.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the booster shot would be given on a voluntary basis and would be free under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

"The objective of giving a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is to ensure an optimal period of coverage is obtained by vaccine recipients in Malaysia.

"Booster dose initiative would be by private clinics under the coordination of ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn. Bhd," he said in a statement on Wednesday (Oct 13).

He said private clinics would offer the booster shot to frontliners and senior citizens, while government health facilities would provide vaccines to their own staff.

"Private health workers can obtain a booster dose from their own facility, subject to the approval of the state Health Department.

"The Malaysian Armed Forces health facilities would provide booster shots for members of the Armed Forces frontliners," he said.

He said booster shots would use the vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, which was given conditional approval by the Drug Control Authority on Oct 8.

"Third doses will also be offered to those with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients, organ recipients and those undergoing dialysis.

"These doses will be given to recipients at least after 28 days since their last dose.

The selection of vaccine would depend on the approval of the indications used by the treating doctor, as well as the supply of vaccines available either of the same (homologous) or different type (heterologous) with the last dose, he said.

"The additional dose will be given at selected health facilities under the supervision of a doctor," he said.

Khairy said the Health Ministry also planned to start a study on the administration of booster dose for different types of vaccines (heterologous vaccination).

The study will be implemented in Sarawak next month (November) and would be extended to other states after getting the approval of the Medical Research Ethics Committee (MREC), he said.

"MOH is once again giving the assurance that the supply of vaccine in Malaysia is sufficient to implement the Covid-19 vaccine additional dose and booster dose,” said Khairy, who also encouraged eligible individuals to take it for optimum protection from Covid-19 infection.

The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) began on Feb 24 this year as a move to control the pandemic. As at Oct 12, 94.9% of the adult population had received one dose of vaccine, while 90.6% of the adult population have been fully vaccinated.

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