Sunday, May 22, 2022

Seniors with comorbidities allowed option of second booster jab

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says the Pfizer jab is the recommended vaccine for a second booster shot.

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Individuals aged 60 and above with high-risk comorbidities have been given the option of getting a second booster dose after an interval of at least four to six months from the date of the first booster jab.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the decision was made after a scientific study and a Malaysian cohort study by the Technical Working Group panel, which found that those aged 60 and above with higher-risk comorbidities experienced serious symptoms and death due to Covid-19.

“Currently, the Comirnaty mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech) is the recommended vaccine for a second booster dose, based on the available scientific data,” he told a press conference at the Parliament building today.

Khairy said those aged 60 and above who have received a booster dose and tested positive for Covid-19 will be eligible to receive a second booster dose three months after they have fully recovered.

For individuals aged 60 and above who are healthy and do not have high-risk comorbidities, he said they should talk to a medical practitioner about whether a second booster dose is recommended for them. 

Khairy also said that teenagers aged 12 and above with weak immune systems (moderately or severely immunocompromised) would also be given the option of a booster dose, after an interval of at least 28 days from the date of the second dose.

However, the health minister said the implementation of the latest recommendation would not affect the complete vaccination status of high-risk individuals who do not take a second booster dose.

He said the health ministry was currently updating the clinical guidelines, which would detail the implementation, and had received applications for individuals wishing to go abroad to obtain a second booster dose to meet the requirements of foreign countries.

“For example, there are some countries in continental Europe that do not recognise Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines as primary doses and booster doses.

“Therefore, individuals who want to go abroad can be given a second booster dose, after an interval of at least one month from the first booster dose, to meet the requirements of going abroad,” he said, adding that the health ministry has 5.7 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to meet the need for booster dose jabs.

As of March 31, Khairy said a total of 701 individuals had received digital certificates of vaccination exemption for medical reasons, adding that such people would also be automatically exempted from receiving booster jabs.

He said individuals who are not eligible for booster jabs due to medical reasons are required to make a new application by obtaining the confirmation of a physician, and then making an application at any district health office by submitting a “Slip of Suitability Assessment to Receive Covid-19 Vaccine for Patients with Certain Health Problems”.

In the meantime, Khairy said that effective April 22, close contacts without symptoms do not need to undergo house surveillance and observation orders, while close contacts with symptoms are advised to conduct self-quarantine.

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