GEORGE TOWN: Seniors, those with comorbidities and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should get their second Covid-19 booster, says family medicine specialist Dr Nazihah Mohd Khalid.
She said that given the presence of Covid-19 variants, namely BA.5.2 and BF.7, which are currently infecting China, those considered high risk should not delay getting their second booster shot.
“Based on the Health Ministry’s guideline, those who have gotten their first booster jab are allowed to get their second booster six months after.
“We also encourage those who are staying in and working at a nursing home to get their second booster jab.
“With more people getting their second booster shots, we can have herd immunity to protect those who cannot get vaccinated,” she said when met at the Jalan Angsana health clinic in Ayer Itam.
Dr Nazihah said there was sufficient supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
“The Pfizer vaccine is highly recommended by the Health Ministry.
“Those who want their booster shot can come to the health clinic to make an appointment and we will schedule for them to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Those who are unsure if they are eligible for the booster shot can go to the nearest health clinic to enquire.”
She added that the public’s response to the second booster jab had been slow compared to the first booster shot as the country was entering the endemic phase.
“However, as there are more variants and we anticipate more cases with the reopening of more international borders, we encourage more people to come and get their second booster jab.
“To keep themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy, the public is encouraged to wear their face masks in crowded areas, especially those who fall under the high-risk group.
“Sanitise your hands from time to time.
“All these practices have become a norm already and there is no harm in continuing them,” she added.
According to the Health Ministry’s KKMNow portal, as of Jan 3, a total of 16,280,730 people (49.9%) have received their first booster dose and only 2% of the total population (640,539 people) have received their second booster dose.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah reportedly said the two Omicron variants, namely BA.5.2 and BF.7, which made up about 80% of the Covid-19 variants currently infecting China, have been detected in Malaysia since March 16 and Aug 21 last year.
He also said as of Dec 31 last year, there were 4,148 cases of the BA.5.2 variant and three cases of BF.7 variant infections in the country.
Meanwhile, trader Cay Bee Eng, 60, said the sale of masks had increased recently due to the surge in Covid-19 cases in China.
“With the recent announcement of the reopening of China’s borders, our business had improved.
“Besides, schools just reopened and many parents are here to stock up,” she said.
Cay added that she uses a four-ply mask when in a crowded area.
“Since I am a senior citizen, it is better to keep myself protected.
“Many customers came back to replenish their masks as the festive season is coming and they do not want to fall ill,” she said when met at her stall in Lorong Kulit.
University student Immanuel Joeboy, 19, was spotted buying a sponge mask at the stall.
“Since my new semester is starting tomorrow, I came to get myself a sponge mask. The sponge mask is trendy and breathable.
“It has become a norm for me to put on a mask in public areas.
“I caught Covid-19 in June last year and I am more careful now,” he added.
Pharmacist Lim Chee Mun, 38, said there was only a slight increase in the sales of masks.
“We do see an increase in sales but it is not as obvious as during the Covid-19 peak period,” she said.