KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has expanded the prioritisation of additional Covid-19 vaccine doses to everyone aged 40 years and above and adults aged 18 and above with underlying health conditions.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also told a media briefing today that Covid-19 booster shots would be offered to pregnant women and frontline workers from non-health sectors.
Malaysia’s coronavirus booster inoculation programme previously prioritised health care workers, senior citizens aged 60 years and older, as well as residents and workers at long-term care facilities.
“MOH’s medical expert panel has reviewed the efficacy and safety of booster shots from various sources and found that one booster dose can increase immunity levels against Covid-19,” Dr Noor Hisham said.
He noted that only boosters with Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus shot are currently authorised for those who were double vaccinated with the same mRNA vaccine or Sinovac.
“Other vaccines are currently under review by the expert and regulatory panels.”
As of yesterday, 825,497 additional Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Malaysia.
Dr Noor Hisham highlighted local real-world data that showed waning immunity a few months after completing Covid-19 vaccination, leading to breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated individuals.
He also noted high infectiousness with variants of concern in the community.
Covid-19 infectivity, or Rt, rose to 1.0 at the national level yesterday, some five weeks after interstate travel was permitted. An Rt level of more than 1.0 indicates that the outbreak is growing.
“If we look at the previous situation, the trend of rising cases was seen five to six weeks after interstate travel was permitted on December 7, 2020,” Dr Noor Hisham said.
“These two factors are a reminder to us all that active actions must be taken to prevent a surge of Covid-19 cases. Among these actions are to increase the administration of booster doses.”
Malaysia’s National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), which has fully vaccinated more than 75.7 per cent of the total population as of yesterday, led to a decline in Covid-19 infections, hospital admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and deaths.