Pfizer, AZ recipients can now get their booster dose 3 months after their two-dose regimen

Khairy speaking at the press conference, as seen in this screenshot taken from the Zoom livestream.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Dec 28: Individuals aged 18 and above who have completed their primary Covid-19 vaccines of either Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, or Sinovac can now get a booster shot after at least three months.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has decided to shorten the minimum interval between primary and booster doses from six months to three months, including Pfizer and AZ vaccines.

“We have already obtained data from Sarawak showing the efficacy of booster doses, not only against Omicron (variant) but also to flatten the Covid-19 infections.

“Having started giving out the Covid-19 booster shots much earlier since Oct 13 due to the election, Sarawak is leading the booster campaign (in the country) with 53.5 per cent of the adult population already administered the booster shot, as compared to the national level with 24 per cent,” he told a press conference in Putrajaya which was broadcast on MOH’s social media today.

With the high booster rate, Khairy emphasised that Sarawak continues to see a declining trend in new infections two months ago, with 208 cases reported in the 52nd epidemiology week compared to 776 cases in the 48th epidemiology week.

“The number of fatalities related to Covid-19 (in Sarawak) also decreased from 497 cases in October to 24 cases as of today.

“This is the message of the high efficacy of booster dose in which Sarawak is leading, including the safety profile of combining (heterologous) vaccines using Pfizer as the booster dose,” he said.

He added that MOH would prioritise giving Pfizer and AstraZeneca (AZ) in the country’s booster vaccination campaign.

“However, Sinovac will only be given to those with contra-indications, including due to medical reasons that the persons are unable to take mRNA vaccines.

“Individuals can choose to take Sinovac as their booster as the vaccine is sold in private healthcare facilities. But MOH’s recommendation is first choice Pfizer and second choice AZ due to proven high efficacy in protection against Covid-19,” he said.

Apart from Sarawak’s positive development, Khairy pointed out that there is strong evidence gathered three weeks ago showing that booster dose can increase the protection against Omicron.

“The safety data from the preliminary studies involving 21 million booster doses conducted in the United Kingdom are reassuring.

“In line with this, the regulatory bodies such as in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, as well as medical experts, now recommend the booster dose to be given as early as three months after completing the primary vaccines,” he added.

Khairy pointed out that booster shots for all eligible adults will be issued according to priority lists based on age and health status, expected to be rolled out between January and February.

“We will enhance the booster shots capacity by opening up more vaccination centres (PPVs) or public healthcare facilities such as hospitals and clinics,” he said. — DayakDaily