Early Oct target for Covid-19 booster shots

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Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced today that he has set early October as the target for the administration Covid-19 vaccine booster shot for high-risk groups.

During the Kedah Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) press conference, Khairy listed those who fall into the category: the elderly with comorbidities, frontliners with health issues or at high risk, those with poor immune systems, and workers at old folks’ homes.

“We will prioritise them first and after that, we will open to others. This, we may be able to execute in early October for this first group, God willing,” he said.

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“So, for those who may ask; does this third dose mean that the first two is not effective? No, not like that. Many nations have begun giving booster shots, including in the US, the United Kingdom, and Singapore and this is to further increase our immune system against Covid-19.”

During the press conference, Khairy said the initiative is crucial since MoH’s data showed that these are those who made up most of the death numbers and were admitted to hospitals as Category 5 patients.

Khairy said the government has not decided when the booster shot will be administered nationwide, and the matter is still being deliberated by the MoH’s experts.

He explained that different nations have different policies on the matter, pointing to the US which has announced to have the booster shot administered to those who are 65 years old and above.

“So, every nation has differing policies. So, we will start with the high-risk group that I mentioned earlier,” he added.

On the type of vaccines to be administered, Khairy said all vaccine producers have been requested to submit information about their third dose to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) for approval.

“I expect the approvals can be granted in a week or two and after that, I will make further announcements on the vaccine types, whether it can be mixed and matched.

“All that I will announce later,” he said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the Malaysian government has agreed to the administration of Covid-19 booster shots for high-risk groups after 80 percent of the country’s population have been fully vaccinated.

A booster shot is an additional dose of a vaccine given after the protection provided by the original shot(s) has begun to decrease over time. The booster is designed to help people maintain their level of immunity for longer.