COVID-19 Booster Shot Gap For Astra Zeneca and Pfizer Recipients Shortened

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin shares about the wait-time and other factors

Malaysia's Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin - image courtesy of Bernamapix

Malaysia’s Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced that recipients of Pfizer and Astra Zeneca (AZ) COVID-19 booster doses will have to wait three months between doses.

He stated that booster dosage appointments will be arranged based on a number of factors, including age de-escalation and health status.

Preliminary trials in the United Kingdom involving 21 million booster doses have shown extremely good safety data, he added.

“As a result, regulatory agencies in the UK, Canada, and Australia, as well as a panel of health experts now recommend that booster dose vaccination be given as soon as three months after the primary vaccine,”

“Findings from clinical research data and real-world investigations, such as the National Institute of Health’s The Real-World Evaluation of COVID-19 Vaccines under the Malaysian National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme, indicate that vaccination efficacy against COVID-19 infection declines with time.”

“Recent findings show that the Omicron variant can result in increased infection transmission, higher viral binding affinity and higher antibody escape than immunisations or natural infections.” Furthermore, significant data gathered over the last three weeks indicate that the COVID-19 booster vaccination is likely to improve protection against the Omicron variant,” Khairy stated.

Sinovac was formerly the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for a three-month gap before booster shots.

“In order to distribute appointments, we will use a priority list that will prioritise the elderly and those with chronic conditions.” In January and February 2022, the Ministry of Health (MoH) anticipates that a large number of individuals in Malaysia who are eligible for booster vaccinations would receive them.

According to Khairy, the ministry would also expand vaccine distribution capacity by establishing additional vaccination centres (PPVs) in private clinics or convention halls, similar to how the first and second immunisation jabs were administered.

He said that data from Sarawak demonstrated the booster doses’ success in not only controlling the Omicron strain of COVID-19 but also in flattening the state’s infection curve. In October 2021, the state began getting booster shots.

“In Sarawak, booster doses distribution began and was vigorously enhanced. Furthermore, the distribution of booster doses in Sarawak began on the 13th of October 2021, and as a result of the increase in booster dose distribution in Sarawak, this state reported the highest number of adults getting the booster dose, accounting for 53.5% of the adult population.

“Of course, they have to have the state election and other things, so Sarawak is leading the booster campaign,” Khairy remarked.

Meanwhile, Khairy said that 5.57 million people in the country had their booster shots, accounting for 24% of the adult population.