Some can skip booster shots, but not safety steps (Poll Inside)

Immunity boost: High risk groups, such as the elderly, should be given priority for further Covid-19 vaccines.

PETALING JAYA: Health experts say that the people who choose to skip the second booster shot against Covid-19 should continue to observe precautionary measures to keep respiratory ailments at bay.

This came in the light of WHO’s revised recommendation for Covid-19 vaccination for non-high risk groups, where experts said those who are not required to have an additional booster jab ought to exercise precautionary measures.

According to the UN agency, Covid-19 vaccination recommendations tailored for a new phase of the pandemic suggested that healthy children and adolescents may not necessarily need a shot, but older, high-risk groups should get a booster between six and 12 months after their last vaccine dose.

Commenting on the development, public health advocate Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar said this is a rational and practical approach, adding that it is justified for the second booster to be made optional for younger children and adults.

“The booster should be an option offered to high-risk groups i.e. the elderly with chronic diseases and younger age groups with higher risk, for example the immuno- compromised,” he said.

As for those who can skip their booster shot, he said they should be mindful of their environment and avoid coming into contact with symptomatic people.

“Generally, previous vaccination seems enough for protection,” he said.

“Although Covid-19 is still around, with the current trend of infection, the transmission is no longer a big threat,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah, president of Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia, said other ways to nurse the immune system can include increasing the intake of vitamin C, eating fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly and having a healthy state of mind.

“All these are ways to boost your immunity without taking booster shots, but of course, the more specific way to prevent Covid-19 is booster shots,” he said.

On Tuesday, the WHO said its current aim was to focus efforts on vaccinating those facing the greatest threat of severe disease and death from Covid-19, in the light of high population immunity worldwide due to widespread infection and vaccination.

It said healthy children and adolescents were a low priority for Covid-19 vaccination, adding that countries must consider factors like disease burden before they can recommend further vaccination of this group.

As for high priority groups, an additional booster is recommended either six or 12 months after the last dose.

The time frame will depend on factors such as age and state of one’s immunity related to their health and condition.

WHO’s recommendations, however, are time-limited and applies only to the current epidemiological scenario.

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