KJ: Second booster take-up rate still low

KUALA LUMPUR: Only 5% of Malaysians aged between 70 and 79 have taken their second booster shots, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.

As for those 80 years old and above, only 4.5% have taken the second booster jab.

“It is still low, but we anticipated that the take-up for the second booster shot would not be high. So we will continue to assure those aged 50 and above, especially those with health issues, to take the second one.

“But for now, it is still at the encouragement level, and there will not be any compulsion. Many people are aware of Covid-19 and the benefits of vaccination,” he said yesterday.

He added that the ministry is not setting any targets, but they will continue to encourage people.

Khairy said the ministry was coming up with a yearly strategy for vaccination policy.

“We will refer to specialists on the stand we should take, like offering vaccination to those who are elderly and with illness.”

“It does not seem we will offer everyone. I don’t think that is very likely unless there is a new severe variant.

“But I will be announcing our policy once we have clarity on what it is,” he said.

Earlier, Khairy launched BEAUTY (Bringing Education and Understanding to You) and HEALTH, a community-based digitally driven intervention for improving cancer-specific health knowledge, literacy, and risk-reduction practises based within community barbershops and beauty salons in Malaysia for screenable male and female cancers and other non-communicable diseases.

BEAUTY and HEALTH is a joint project by the National Cancer Society of Malaysia and the Asia Cancer Forum (Japan).

The local barbershops and beauty salons will act as a health communication platforms for cancer prevention and screening.

In his speech, Khairy said that only 600,000 people of the 6 million who qualified for free screenings under the Health Care Scheme of the B40 Group (PeKa B40) in the last three years had used the service.

He said people’s reluctance stemmed from cultural norms, as some felt it unnecessary to do health screenings since they seemed and looked healthy and they fear bad news.

However, he said early detection provided a better outcome for the future.

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