Uggah: SDMC to consider third booster shot pending “green light” from Scovag

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, July 26:  Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) has instructed Sarawak Covid-19 Advisory Group (Scovag) to look into the necessity of a third booster shot in view of the resurgence of Covid-19 cases relating to the highly contagious Delta variant around the globe.

SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the third vaccination is among the many scenarios that Scovag has to study and deliberate before the latter makes recommendation to SDMC for implementation on the matter.

“SDMC is considering all probabilities. We have to think ahead.  Whatever decisions we make, however, we need to wait for professional advice from Scovag headed by Datu Dr Andrew Kiyu Dawie.  It is important that our strategies to combat Covid-19 is based on science.

“We also have to wait for the decision from the Health Ministry.  We stand guided,” Uggah told DayakDaily when asked if SDMC will consider a third booster jab for Sarawakians as it has been widely cited as the solution to counter more transmissible Covid-19 cases brought about by Delta variant.

Meanwhile, on mass vaccination, Uggah said SDMC is continuing with its goal of full vaccination for 2.084 million eligible Sarawakians by end of August, 2021.

The Delta variant has been found to be responsible for Covid-19 resurgences in countries with high vaccination rate.  Scientific studies did show that vaccination may reduce risk of developing symptoms, prevention of hospitalisation and death but in the face of Delta variant, the efficacy of available vaccines has been found to be reduced.

Taking Delta’s proven high transmissible nature in consideration, there are suggestions for a third booster jab to strength immunity.

PfizerNTech, according Reuters, had planned to seek United States and European regulators to authorise a booster jab, “based on evidence of greater risk of infection six months after inoculation and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant”.

In response to PfizerNTech’s request, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a joint statement held that fully vaccinated individuals do not need a third booster shot at this time. Both FDA and CDC said they were only prepared for booster doses if and when the science demonstrates such a need.

On the European side, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said it was too early to call for a third booster shot as it was confident that the present regimen of two doses was sufficient. — DayakDaily