KUALA LUMPUR, August 12 — The Selangor state government is preparing to sell to fully vaccinated people third doses under the Selangor Covid-19 Vaccination Programme (Selvax) that currently offers only the Sinovac jab.
Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari said this may be offered when at least 80 per cent of Selangor’s adult residents have received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose, pending approval from the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).
To date, a total of 5,791,304 vaccine doses have been administered in Selangor via both the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) and Selvax.
Of the total, 3,665,093 people or 77.17 per cent of Selangor’s adult population have received at least one vaccine dose, while 2,096,211 or 44.14 per cent of the state’s population aged 18 and above have been fully vaccinated.
The Selangor state government’s vaccination statistics appear to contradict the federal administration’s figures of the entire adult population in the Klang Valley of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, and Putrajaya having already received their first dose.
CodeBlue understands that the state government recommended to the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) for statistics to be tabulated according to the vaccine recipient’s state of residence, rather than the vaccine administration location.
“We are waiting for the policy from the NPRA and the Ministry of Health. But the current reading and document shown to us is that booster shots are quite important especially when you are exposed to the new virus variants and exposed to the larger community.
“Surely, when everything goes to the next phase and we allow for cross-border travel between states and countries as well… it is quite important (to get a booster shot) so we are confident that at least we are ready and have reserved the vaccines for Selangorians who need it in the future,” Amirudin told a media briefing today.
“What is shown to us now is that the booster shot is quite necessary, either for the US’s Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or China’s Sinovac vaccine, so that is why we are ready and are preparing for that,” he added.
Amirudin referred to the state government’s existing Sinovac vaccine stockpile for the booster shot, but did not specify if third doses will be administered only to Sinovac recipients or mixed with other brands. He also did not specify which groups will be inoculated with a third dose.
So far, the NPRA has neither approved a third booster shot or the mixing of Covid-19 vaccines.
CodeBlue previously reported that the Sarawak state government is planning to purchase its own supply of Covid-19 vaccine for third doses expected to be administered in the state from October.
Sarawak has one of the highest vaccination rates among states, with 87.7 per cent of its adult population receiving at least a single Covid-19 vaccine dose, and 76.8 per cent receiving two doses, as of August 11.
It is likely that the state may procure either Sinovac or the recently authorised Moderna, an mRNA vaccine, for its supply of booster shots.
However, it is unknown if the Sarawak state government plans to mix-and-match vaccines between the third shot and initial two-dose regimens, which may have to be the case if the state is unable to get Pfizer and AstraZeneca from the federal supply for booster shots.
The UK is currently running clinical trials to compare seven different coronavirus vaccines as options for booster jabs — AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax, Valneva, Janssen, and Curevac — including studying the effectiveness of mixing vaccines.
Indonesia started giving Moderna as the third Covid-19 vaccine dose to health workers since late July after the deaths of hundreds of frontliners in the past two months, many of whom had been fully vaccinated, The Jakarta Post reported. Most health professionals had received Sinovac for their first two doses.
Other countries that have started or will begin administering booster shots — such as Israel, Thailand, and Cambodia — use either Pfizer or AstraZeneca as the third dose. Israel has started giving a third Pfizer shot to people aged 60 years and older, whereas Thailand has begun administering Pfizer as a booster dose to frontline medics who were double vaccinated with Sinovac.
Cambodia is scheduled to start giving AstraZeneca booster shots from today to frontline workers who previously received two doses of either Sinopharm or Sinovac.
In the US, its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to allow people with compromised immune systems to get a third dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, according to NBC News.
Immunocompromised patients include organ transplant recipients, people undergoing cancer treatment and people with HIV, among others.
The US’ emergency-use authorisation for the booster shot does not include fully vaccinated healthy people as both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines have shown to be highly effective at preventing hospitalisation and death in this group.