KUALA LUMPUR, August 6 — The Sarawak government is planning to give a third Covid-19 vaccine dose as early as October to state residents fully vaccinated with two shots, amid low inoculation rates in most other states.
Astro Awani reported Sarawak state disaster management committee chairman Dr Sim Kui Hian as saying that the Sarawak Covid-19 Advisory Group (SCOVAG) is conducting research on the use of booster doses, besides also considering coronavirus vaccination for adolescents aged 12 to 17.
He highlighted a report from Sarawak General Hospital that found 20 per cent of 1,100 Covid-19 cases were among teenagers and children aged 18 years and younger.
“We want medical experts and scientists to look at the suitability of giving vaccines to the 12-to-18-year group. Sarawak needs to look at this issue seeing that we are already at the forefront [of vaccination],” Dr Sim was quoted telling reporters after an event in Kuching earlier today.
It is unclear if Sarawak plans to use federal vaccine supply for third shots or if the state will purchase its own vaccines.
The federal Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) has yet to issue recommendations on booster jabs or vaccination for adolescents.
As of yesterday, Sarawak has fully vaccinated 50.9 per cent of its total population, behind Labuan’s 57.7 per cent, both of which have the top inoculation rates in the country far exceeding the national 24.5 per cent coverage.
Seven states have not even fully vaccinated 20 per cent of their total populations: Penang (19.9 per cent), Terengganu (19.6 per cent), Pahang (17.6 per cent), Kedah (17.0 per cent), Kelantan (15.7 per cent), Johor (13.6 per cent), and Sabah (11.1 per cent).
International media reported that Israel, Germany, and France will proceed with rolling out Covid-19 vaccine booster shots from September, despite a World Health Organization (WHO) plea for a booster moratorium until at least the end of September to ensure that a minimum 10 per cent of every country’s population is vaccinated.
According to WHO, high-income countries administered about 50 doses for every 100 people in May, with this number doubling since, compared to low-income countries that could only administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people due to poor vaccine supply.
Israel, Germany, and France reportedly plan to administer third coronavirus vaccine doses to the elderly.