Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today said that booster shots for those who received the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines can be given three months after the primer dose, as efforts to keep the fast-moving Omicron variant in check continue.
The interval between the second dose and booster jab for the two vaccines was originally fixed at six months.
Those who were initally vaccinated with Sinovac meanwhile have been given boosters three months after the second shot.
Khairy said the decision to shorten the interval for booster jabs followed data from a study involving 21 million booster shots given in the UK, which had shown convincing results.
He said regulatory bodies in the UK, Canada and Australia now recommended that booster jabs be given as early as three months after the second dose of the primary vaccine.
“The technical working group has also evaluated the evidence and made new recommendations on booster shots for Covid-19,” he said at a hybrid press conference.
“In Malaysia, we have decided that booster shots for the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines can be given after three months.”
Khairy said appointment dates would be given by the health ministry to those who are eligible, with priority given according to age and health status.
He said the ministry expects the majority of eligible adults in Malaysia to receive booster jabs in January and February next year.
“The health ministry will increase the vaccination capacity by opening more vaccination centres (PPV) whether at private clinics or PPVs that will be opened soon in halls, as was done under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme before this,” he said.
“Priority in appointments will be given to senior citizens and those with chronic diseases.”
Khairy said the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines would be the preferred choice for booster shots while the Sinovac jab will be available through the private market or if the person in question has been given medical advice by a doctor to receive only that brand of vaccine.