PETALING JAYA: Senior citizens aged 60 and above with comorbidities will be allowed to get a second Covid-19 vaccine booster shot, says Khairy Jamaluddin.
The Health Minister said this would be given four to six months after the first booster shot.
He said the decision was taken after the Technical Working Group had looked into the scientific research that suggests older individuals with comorbidities who contracted Covid-19 have higher risks with severe symptoms and even fatalities.
Khairy said moderate or severe immunocompromised adolescents, aged 12 and above, would also be allowed to receive booster shots at least 28 days after the second dose of the primer vaccination.
“For the time being, based on available scientific data, Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) has been recommended as the second booster dose,” he told a press conference yesterday.
Khairy said those aged 60 and above who were infected with Covid-19 would be eligible to receive the second booster shot three months after recovery.
“However, this recommendation will not affect one’s completed vaccination status if they opt not to take the second booster jab.
“We are in the process of updating the clinical guidelines that will further detail the implementation,” he said.
The minister also said that to fulfil the host country vaccination requirements, especially in Europe, travellers heading to these destinations would be allowed to receive their second booster.
“The second booster shot can be taken at least a month after the first booster,” he said.
Khairy said the decision was made as some European countries have not recognised Coronavac (Sinovac) and Sinopharm vaccines that were administered in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
“Currently, Sinovac has not been recognised by 10 European Union (EU) countries, while Sinopharm by 11 EU countries,” he said.
These countries include Germany, France, Iceland and Italy.
On another matter, Khairy said Malaysia had received the first shipment of Covid-19 antiviral drug Paxlovid on April 9 that could treat 48,000 patients.
He said the drugs were currently being distributed to government health facilities nationwide comprising 481 health clinics, Covid-19 Assessment Centres (CAC) and 15 public hospitals.
“The antiviral drug will be used for Covid-19 patients aged 18 and above under Category 2 and 3 who do not need ventilators and those who are at higher risk of developing severe infections.
“Covid-19 patients in CAC and government hospitals will be assessed by medical officers before being treated with Paxlovid,” he said.
Khairy said to ensure quicker validation of the rapid antigen self-test, the public could now get virtual consultation with verified health practitioners.
“The telemedical initiative is offered digitally where the individual does not have to be physically present at the medical facility.
“We hope the latest initiative would facilitate the public and travellers to get verified Covid-19 self-test results by health professionals,” he said.