Dr Sim: Booster shots help decrease Covid-19 cases in Sarawak; Sinovac boosters to be rolled out next week

Dr Sim Kui Hian (file photo)

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 27: Booster shots have helped bring down Covid-19 cases in Sarawak and the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) is planning to roll out Sinovac vaccine boosters next week, on top of the readily available Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Minister for Local Government and Housing Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian pointed out that health experts have recommended that those who received Sinovac as their primary vaccine get a booster dose with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to enhance their immune system’s response towards Covid-19, unless they are unable to do so due to medical reasons such as allergic reactions.

“The daily new cases and fatalities in Sarawak have been steadily coming down due to the efficacy of the booster dose as monitored by our local health authorities including the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“However, let’s not let our guard down and we must continue to be vigilant as more Covid-19 variants are expected to emerge next year,” he advised in his social media post yesterday.

This recommendation for a “mix and match” vaccine booster shot roll-out was based on studies conducted by the Real-World Evaluation of Covid-19 Vaccines Under the Malaysia National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (RECoVaM) and the National Medical Research Register (NMRR) which found that the Sinovac vaccine’s efficacy dropped to 28 per cent against both Covid-19 infection and ICU admission in three to five months after completing vaccination.

In contrast, the studies indicated that Pfizer-BioNTech’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccine remains 79 per cent effective at preventing ICU admission after three to five months from 86 per cent after the primary vaccination.

Since thebooster dose was rolled out in Sarawak, Dr Sim informed that some 615,000 or 75 per cent of 812,000 people eligible have received their shots as of November, making Sarawak the highest in administering booster doses in Malaysia.

“Majority of them are (on) the ‘mix and match’ boosters – Sinovac, Sinovac and Pfizer-BioNTech.

“In December, there are some 700,000 individuals eligible for booster dose including those aged 18 and above which has been announced by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Nov 25,” he added.

He also advised people to take all safety and health precautions especially wearing face masks, keeping a safe distance from one another and sanitising hands frequently when in public places as well as monitoring one’s own health as this will be the new norms to live with the virus.

“Living in fear or continuing to be under locked down is not the answer to Covid-19,” he added. — DayakDaily