Covid-19: Second booster is free and voluntary, says ProtectHealth

PETALING JAYA: Getting a second Covid-19 vaccine booster dose is voluntary and free of charge under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), says ProtectHealth

Its chief executive officer Datuk Dr Anas Alam Faizli said the development is welcome and that the objective of a second booster dose is to ensure optimum protection levels in the elderly and high-risk individuals, as they are the most vulnerable groups.

ALSO READ: Second booster allowed for those aged 60 and above with comorbidities

"As we transition into endemicity, it is very important to continue protecting our most vulnerable population and this is one such effort.

"We have also received many queries and requests from the public about the second booster dose.

"In view of the upcoming Hari Raya festivity, I strongly advise those high-risk individuals to obtain better self-protection against the Covid-19 virus by obtaining their second booster dose," he said in a statement on Friday (April 15).

Dr Anas said, as announced by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on April 14 April, those above 60 with high comorbidities (individuals who have diabetes; patients with chronic lung disease; patients with chronic renal disease, underlying dialysis; patients with chronic liver disease; patients with cerebrovascular disease; patients with heart failure, ischemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy; chronic neurological patients; individuals with a body mass index (BMI) over 40 as well as individuals at home care centres for a long-term) who are more susceptible to severe Covid-19 infection can now obtain a second dose of booster after four to six months obtaining the first booster dose.

ALSO READ: Nod for second booster

"Following the announcement, adolescents aged 12 years old with moderate or severe immunocompromised such as cancer patients; patients undergoing organ transplantation with therapy immunosuppression; long-term haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis; other conditions or diseases classified as moderate or severe immunocompromised that will be detailed in the Health Ministry's clinical guidelines, may get their booster dose at least 28 days after completing their second vaccine," he said.

Dr Anas said that the elderly who are healthy and above 60 years old without high comorbidities could only opt for the second booster dose on the advice of a medical professional.

"The vaccine that will be used for the implementation of the second booster dose is the Pfizer-BioNTech (mRNA Comirnaty) Covid-19 vaccine.

"The decision to roll out the administration of the second booster shot was made after the technical working group looked into the scientific studies as well as studies carried out by the Malaysia cohort on those aged 60 and above with lung disease, heart disease, kidney illness, liver disease and diabetics who have a high risk of developing severe symptoms or dying due to Covid-19.

"Other than that, the Health Ministry also allows adult individuals who plan to travel overseas to obtain their second booster dose at least one month after the first booster dose, if the vaccination is a requirement of the destination country, regardless of the risk profile of the individual.

"For senior citizens who have completed their primary vaccination and booster jab but who have contracted Covid-19, they may apply for the second booster injection three months after recovering from the virus," he said.

As of April 14, a total of 15.9 million doses of booster have been administered and 12.3 million doses or 77.4% were contributed by Private Medical Practitioners (PMPs) and Healthcare non-government Organisations (NGOs) under ProtectHealth.

ProtectHealth, through private medical practitioners and healthcare NGOs, will continue to assist and work together with the MOH to maximise and expedite the implementation of the second booster dose and encourages PMPs to participate in the programme.

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