KUALA LUMPUR: Sinovac vaccine recipients will receive Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccines as booster doses, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He added that the booster doses will be given to individuals who have been fully vaccinated with Sinovac for at least three months.
“For a start, the heterologous booster dose will be given to individuals aged 60 and above based on the recommendations of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunisation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) which convened on Oct 4 to Oct 7,” he told a press conference yesterday.
This will be the first time Malaysia is carrying out a mix-and-match (heterologous) process of its Covid-19 vaccines, where individuals receive a different vaccine brand from their first two doses.
Prior to this, the booster dose programme was only for individuals who were jabbed with Pfizer vaccines. Those fully vaccinated with Pfizer will also receive the same vaccine as their booster shot.
However, Pfizer recipients will only receive their booster shots six months after their second dose.
Currently, booster shots are given only to frontliners (health and security), those aged 60 and above and individuals with comorbidities.
Khairy said the objective of giving a booster dose is to ensure vaccine recipients receive optimal protection from their Covid-19 vaccines.
He said those eligible for the booster shots will be notified for an appointment through their MySejahtera app.
Those who are not on MySejahtera will be informed through SMS.
He added that the booster dose programme is voluntary and is given for free.
Meanwhile, Khairy said the ministry is gathering data from Britain on the country’s booster dose programme for AstraZeneca recipients.
“Our team of experts are constantly looking at data from other countries. The UK for example, has many AstraZeneca vaccine recipients, and they have encouraged the usage of booster doses.
“Once our team of experts has completed the study, we will make an announcement.
“For now, our booster programme will be a homologous one for Pfizer recipients and a heterologous one for Sinovac recipients.
“However, we won’t discount a future mix of other vaccines,” he added.
Malaysia began giving booster shots on Oct 13, starting with Sarawak.
As of Oct 19, a total of 47,728 people in Malaysia have received their booster dose.