KUCHING: The Sarawak Health Department will start giving third doses and booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine to eligible recipients in the state from Wednesday (Oct 13).
Deputy state Health director Dr Rosemawati Ariffin said priority for the third dose was for those with weaker immune systems, estimated at 11,900 individuals.
Booster shots will also be given to 80,300 senior citizens above 60 years of age as well as 30,340 frontliners in the state.
"The third dose and booster shots will be administered at selected public health clinics, private hospitals and private clinics.
"Eligible recipients can contact the clinics to obtain an appointment," she said in a statement on Wednesday.
Dr Rosemawati said the administering of third doses and booster shots did not mean that the vaccine previously given is not effective, but is meant to provide additional protection to vulnerable groups.
"This includes immunocompromised individuals for whom two doses of the vaccine are not enough to give them protection or stimulate an immune response to fight Covid-19.
"A third dose is needed when the immune response is not adequate following the primary vaccine series," she said.
Dr Rosemawati also said the booster shot would provide additional protection to individuals whose immune response to the primary vaccine series had waned over time.
"We hope the administering of the third dose and booster shots to high-risk groups will help steer Sarawak and Malaysia out of the pandemic crisis towards the endemic phase," she added.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin recently said Sarawak would be the first state to start giving booster shots this month.
The ministry has approved Pfizer-BioNTech's Cominarty vaccine for the booster dose programme in Malaysia.