Only 2.5% of the country's population, or 824,835 people, have taken the second booster shot for Covid-19.
Deputy Health Minister Luanisman Awang Sauni today said the government started administering booster doses to children aged five to 11 years on Jan 9.
However, he said only 7,163 children, or 0.2% of that group, have received the booster shot, adding the low uptake is one of the reasons for vaccine wastage.
"This has led to the expiry of vaccine doses, and 8.5 million doses had to be disposed of," he said in response to a question from Rasah MP Cha Kee Chin.
On the overall vaccine uptake, Luanisman said that the primary doses had received good response, with 98.4% among adults, 91.6% in teenagers aged 12 to 18 years and 43.5% among children.
However, he noted a significant declining trend in the uptake of booster doses. The first booster dose accounted for approximately 69.1%, whereas the second booster dose stood at only 33.5% among adults.
Similarly, the uptake of booster doses was only 2% among teenagers and 0.2% in children.
"The response and acceptance towards primary doses was very good due to concerns over emergence of new variants and the need to stay safe.
"Wastage began when the public started treating vaccine as an option," he said.
"Information on the adverse effects of vaccines that could not be controlled and anti-vaccine groups peddling claims that vaccines are unsafe had caused fear in parents.
"The reopening of the economy has also caused the public to let their guard down, especially after the primary doses provided a guarantee of safety," he added.