PUTRAJAYA, Oct 13 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) will be starting to administer COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to senior citizens aged 60 and above and frontliners who have completed vaccination at least six months ago, said its minister, Khairy Jamaluddin.
“Individuals who are eligible would be informed through MySejahtera application. For individuals who do not have MySejahtera, the announcement would be made via sms (short messaging system) or phone call by the vaccination centre (PPV),” he said.
The booster dose is an additional dose which should be given to a person who had earlier acquired adequate protection after being fully vaccinated but the immunity may start to wan after some time .
Khairy in a statement today said the dispensing of the booster dose would be carried out voluntarily and is free under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).
“The objective of administering the COVID-19 booster shot is to ensure an optimum protection period for recipients in Malaysia,” he said.
On the implementation of the vaccine booster dose, Khairy said private clinics (GP) are for frontliners and senior citizens aged 60 and above.
Government health facilities would administer vaccine to their respective health personnel while the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) health facilities are for MAF frontliners, he said.
He said private health personnel could obtain their booster dose from their respective facilities depending on the agreement of the State Health Department.
Khairy said the booster dose for recipients who were earlier fully vaccinated with Comirnaty vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech would receive the same vaccine (homologous vaccination) which is the Comirnaty vaccine.
This is because Comirnaty vaccine has received conditional approval from the Drug Control Authority (DCA) on Oct 8.
Khairy said the dispensing of an extra dose would be given to individuals who have low immunity (immunocompromised) such as cancer patients, organ recipients and kidney patients undergoing dialysis as the two doses were inadequate to provide optimum protection for them.
“The extra dose would be given at least 28 days after getting complete vaccination for COVID-19,” he said.
The selection of vaccine would depend on the approval of the indications used by the treating doctor as well as the supply of vaccines available either of the same (homologous) or different type (heterologous) with the last dose, he said.
“The additional dose will be given at selected health facilities under the supervision of a doctor, ” he said.
Khairy said MOH also planned to start a study on the administration of booster dose for different types of vaccines (heterologous vaccination).
The study will be implemented in Sarawak next month (November) and would be extended to other states after getting the approval of the Medical Research Ethics Committee (MREC), he said
“MOH is once again giving the assurance that the supply of vaccine in Malaysia is sufficient to implement the COVID-19 vaccine additional dose and booster dose,” said Khairy who also encouraged eligible individuals to take it for optimum protection from COVID-19 infection.
The National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) began on Feb 24 this year as a move to control the pandemic. As at Oct 12, 94.9 per cent of the adult population had received one dose of vaccine while 90.6 per cent of the adult population have been fully vaccinated.