KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — The Health Ministry will soon offer additional doses to those who received AstraZeneca-Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine, Khairy Jamaluddin said today, expanding the booster programme beyond Pfizer and Sinovac recipients.
Senior citizens aged 60 and above and frontline workers — who were fully vaccinated with either Pfizer or Sinovac — are eligible for booster shots with the Pfizer vaccine.
Pfizer and Sinovac recipients will be eligible for their third jab at least six and three months respectively after their second dose. Appointments will be offered via the MySejahtera app or SMS.
“We will be announcing further details soon for AZ recipients to receive their booster and also for other choices for booster shots e.g. people with allergies and cannot take the mRNA may be offered Sinovac or AZ for their booster,” Khairy tweeted.
The health minister did not reply to a question on Twitter on whether individuals who were double inoculated with AstraZeneca would receive the same viral vector vaccine or if they would be given a choice to mix and match with a Pfizer-BioNTech booster jab.
Khairy also reiterated that one would be considered fully vaccinated upon completing their primary series of vaccination with two doses of either Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, or one dose of CanSino, as boosters are not mandatory but highly encouraged. Many public premises in Malaysia, including restaurants, require visitors to be fully vaccinated.
He said the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply’s (JKJAV) expert committee led by Dr Kalai Peariasamy had recommended heterologous vaccination, noting that many countries were mixing and matching coronavirus vaccines.
Last October 20, the United States’ Federal and Drug Administration (FDA) approved heterologous vaccination, authorising the use of a different vaccine as a single booster following completion of primary vaccination with another vaccine.
For example, Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients may receive a booster of the same vaccine, or Moderna or Pfizer. Moderna and Pfizer recipients may receive a booster dose of the same or different mRNA vaccines they were fully vaccinated with, or with Johnson & Johnson.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said last October 21 that the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) has approved off-label use for heterologous vaccination of Sinovac recipients. Off-label use means that a drug or a vaccine is prescribed for an unapproved use to treat or prevent a medical condition.