Why is Getting the Booster Shot Controversial?

The Ministry of Health through the Myhealth portal looks for grassroots opinion leaders to help confide in the COVID-19 booster shot

Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Health giving his speech in the webinar

Malaysia began administering the COVID-19 booster jabs on the 13th of October 2021 primarily to Sinovac vaccine recipients. After reviewing global reports, the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force-Booster (CITF-B) on 28th December 2021 has recommended that vaccine recipients be given a booster dose as early as three months after the second dose for all types of vaccine recipients.

All Malaysian residents aged 18 and above who have completed their primary vaccine shots are eligible to receive a booster dose to increase their immunity against the coronavirus.

The Ministry of Health through the MyHealth portal had organised a webinar that was broadcasted through Facebook Live on 29th December 2021 with Minister of Health, Khairy Jamaluddin giving his opening remarks to address the public followed by Suraiya Syed Mohamed, the director of the Health Education department in the Ministry of Health.

“Efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country will not succeed without the community realising the importance of their role to jointly shoulder the responsibility in breaking the chain of transmission,” said Khairy.

Community empowerment in terms of information sharing and dissemination is critical in order for people to make informed decisions and take the best possible action in adopting a healthy lifestyle throughout the pandemic. With the emergence of new variants such as the Omicron, information on the importance to take the COVID-19 vaccination must continue to be communicated.

“Although the government is responsible for delivering the latest information to the community through various channels and platforms, there is still a need for efforts to channel-specific messages in a more personalised or face-to-face manner at the grassroots level.”

“As a community health agent, the MYCHAMPION team is able to reach out to the surrounding community efficiently and ensure that each individual is sensitive and able to act to protect their families and communities,” he said.

Khairy further added that the team would help the community play an active role in the prevention of COVID-19 by adapting to the new norms. He believes that since the nature of COVID-19 variations such as Omicron evolves, it’s critical for everyone to focus on current issues in order to encourage full-dose vaccination users to get vaccinated while encouraging the public to follow SOPs and get immunisations as recommended by the doctors.

“It is my hope that the MYCHAMPION team would continue to work with MOH as a catalyst to influence community behaviour, not just in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, but also in response to other health issues. Taking a booster dosage can help increase the immune response to COVID-19 infection and keep the receiver from becoming extremely ill as a result of the infection.”

Consisted of four sessions spanning over 2 and a half-hour, the webinar refreshes the basic information on COVID and the need for vaccination to fight it and the variations that come from it. The panel also addressed frequently asked questions (FAQ) like why is the booster shot needed, when would be their turn, ProtectHealth’s role in the immunisation programme and wraps up with MYCHAMPION’s role in Booster Shot information by Sri Tharan Balakrishnan, Community Mobilisation Consultant in the Health Education department.

*Webinar viewing: https://www.facebook.com/myhealthkkm/videos/414518850362195/