Booster dose programme extended to Sinovac recipients in Malaysia

As Covid-19 cases continued to spike in the country for the past few months, many have actively registered for vaccines to protect themselves and their loved ones from getting infected. Although daily cases in Malaysia have been on a downward trend, we shouldn’t be lowering our guard so we can prevent another wave of the virus hitting us.

As such, the health ministry announced that the Covid-19 booster dose programme, which commenced on 13th October 2021, will be extended to fully vaccinated Sinovac recipients as well.

Sinovac recipients to receive Pfizer booster shots from 22nd October

Booster dose programme Malaysia
Image credit: Noor Hisham Abdullah

As of 19th October 2021, 47,728 people have received the booster shots “to achieve optimal protection against Covid-19 infection“. Up until this period, the booster dose programme only included those who received the Pfizer vaccine, with priorities given to high-risk groups such as frontline workers, senior citizens and people with chronic diseases.

However, the health ministry is now also including in the programme Sinovac recipients who have successfully completed two doses at least three months ago, starting with senior citizens aged 60 and above from 22nd October 2021.

Booster dose programme Malaysia
Image credit: Khairy Jamaluddin

Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin clarified the reason for using a different brand of vaccine, also known as heterologous vaccination or mix-and-match for Sinovac recipients.

He said Pfizer shots are given to Sinovac recipients aged 60 and above following recommendations of the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Expert Group on Immunisation (SAGE) which deemed heterologous vaccination as safe.

The booster dose programme will be conducted on a voluntary basis and for free by private medical officers under the coordination of the health ministry’s unit, ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd.

“Eligible individuals will be notified via the MySejahtera application and via SMS to a registered phone number if they do not have MySejahtera,” Khairy was quoted as saying by The Edge Markets in a media briefing.

Covid-19 booster jabs
Image credit: @JKJAVMY

Update (17th November 2021): The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force – Booster (CITF-B) will begin walk-in registrations for booster shots at vaccination centres starting 22nd November 2021 to help speed up the process for those eligible for the shots.

Individuals prioritised for booster shots now include:

  • Frontliners, security, and defence personnel
  • Individuals aged 40 and over
  • Individuals aged 18 and over with comorbidities
  • Occupants and staff at long-term healthcare centres
  • Those who need to fly overseas
  • Pregnant mothers

Those who have yet to receive their first or second vaccine jab, or missed out on their appointments, can also proceed to a vaccination centre administering booster shots to get vaccinated. Adolescents whose ages fall between 12-17 years old can walk-in to these centres to complete their vaccinations too.

Individuals seeking out their booster jabs can refer to this link provided by JKJAV to locate a vaccination centre closest to them.

Covid-19 booster dose programme in Malaysia

As we are transitioning into a new phase of the pandemic, it is important that we stay protected against this deadly virus that is capable of mutating and adapting to our surroundings. Booster shots are approved after careful consideration by health officials and those who have a weak immune system should consult experts before signing up for the programme.

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Cover image adapted from: Noor Hisham Abdullah and Felton Davis

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