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By Ling Hui
KUCHING, Oct 9: Pfizer recipients in Sarawak will start receiving their third Pfizer booster shots, probably as early as next week, says Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor said that, following the green light by National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority (NPRA) yesterday (Oct 8), he would commence discussion with the Sarawak State Health Department (JKNS) to start identifying the previous Pfizer recipients first.
Of course, he said the priorities for vaccination will still go to the elderlies and those with comorbidities among the Pfizer recipients listed.
“Since it has been approved (by NPRA), we’ll go for the Pfizer (recipients) first. So, in the next few days, we need to check with JKNS how many Pfizer recipients (there are in Sarawak).
“We (Sarawak) already have the vaccines, so we can start right away. I will discuss with JKNS, so I think we should probably be able to start earliest next week,” he said during Kuching South City Council (MBKS) Mayor, Dato Wee Hong Seng’s Facebook live session today.
Dr Sim, who is also Minister for Local Government and Housing, said that when the third booster shots’ administration start, Sarawak will go for the ‘jab first, register later’ approach that was similarly used for the State’s interior areas.
Standard registration through MySejahtera could not be done, he pointed out, as he was informed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) that the facilities for booster shots in the App will only be ready and available after the first week of November.
“It’s too late. We will have to wait until November, unless we use the manual recording approach like previously.
“I want to start (the administration) now if it can be done,” he asserted.
Yesterday, NPRA gave a blanket approval for all adults above 18 years old to receive a booster dose with Pfizer vaccines, at least six months after their second jab.
However, it did not specify whether heterologous vaccination with Pfizer boosters is allowed. Meaning, whether those previously jabbed with other types of vaccines, such as AstraZeneca (AZ), Sinovac, or CanSino, could also be shot with Pfizer boosters.
In response to this, Dr Sim said Sarawak shall wait for more decisions from NPRA, as to whether heterologous vaccination is approved. And if not, whether Sinovac recipients could get their Sinovac booster doses too.
This is vital, he said, because about 70 per cent of the Sarawak population were vaccinated with Sinovac, including majority of the high-risk individuals.
“So, we need NPRA to quickly agree or approve that Sinovac recipients could also take booster shots, either with Pfizer or Sinovac vaccines,” he added.
Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Clarence Ting was also among the invited guests to Wee’s live streaming session. — Dayakdaily