KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) will be extending Comirnaty (Pfizer-BionTech) COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to individuals who have completed vaccination with Sinovac vaccine after at least three months.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the dispensing of the heterologous booster dose is through off-label manner and would be given to eligible recipients of Sinovac vaccine from tomorrow in phases nationwide.
“For the start, the booster shot would be administered on individuals aged 60 and above based on the advice of Strategic Advisory Group Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which met on Oct 4 to 7.
“The dispensing would become a subgroup study in the study of The Real World Evaluation of COVID-19 Vaccination (RECoVaM) and the study on Serious Adverse Effects After Vaccination (SAFECOVAC) which is for all booster dose recipients,” he said in a media conference today.
Khairy said the administering of the booster dose is voluntary and free under National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) with the objective to ensure optimum protection for COVID-19 recipients in Malaysia.
He said the initiative would be led by private medical practitioners under the coordination of Protect Health Corporation Sdn Bhd.
“Eligible Individuals would be informed via MySejahtera application and through Short Message Service (SMS) to the telephone number of the individuals who do not have MySejahtera.
“The method of booster dose appointment would be improved from time to time and soon vaccine recipients would be able to make appointment through a system being developed by MOH,” he said.
Earlier, the Health Minister said the implementation of the booster dose had begun nationwide on Oct 13 using Comirnaty vaccine involving 47,728 recipients as at Oct 19.
He said at the moment, the booster dose is given to recipients of Comirnaty vaccine at least after six months with priority given to frontliners (health and security), residents aged 60 and above and individual with comorbidity
On the pandemic situation for the 41st epid week (Oct 10 to 16), Khairy said the total admission of COVID-19 patients to public hospitals and COVID-19 Quarantine and Low-Risk Treatment Centres (PKRC) for the Central Zone ( Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya) has started to show a rising trend after interstate travel was allowed on Oct 11.
He said the situation is also the same in Sarawak especially for Category 3,4 and 5 patients after cross state travel was allowed.
“Similarly, the trend of COVID-19 patients in categories 3,4 and 5 in the Southern Zone in which Negeri Sembilan had started to show an increasing trend in the 40th epidemic week,” he said.
Meanwhile, Khairy also announced the launch of COVID-19 National Testing Strategy would study the test strategy for COVID-19 which is clearer such as the context needed for COVID-19 test.
He said the document would be uploaded into MOH website tomorrow morning.
“… at the work place, school, university, concert, conference, stadium and so on by clearly stating when you need to be tested, how often you need to be tested. The launch (strategy) would give a clearer picture to the people on when one should carry out COVID-19 test and in what context one should take the COVID-19 test,” he said.