NPRA Approves Sinovac, AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Boosters

Khairy Jamaluddin says the Vaccination Technical Working Group will recommend eligibility groups and inclusion of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca shots for heterologous vaccination.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — The National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) today authorised the use of Sinovac and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines as booster shots for adults aged 18 and older.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the conditional approval by the Drug Control Authority (DCA), which is under the NPRA, covered the use of both vaccines for individuals who had received two doses of the same shot for their primary vaccine series, or homologous vaccination.

Those initially vaccinated with two doses of AstraZeneca can receive a third jab six months after the second dose, whereas double-vaccinated Sinovac recipients can get an additional shot within three to six months after the second.

“The administration of booster doses for these two vaccine products for specific target groups will be detailed by the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force Booster (CITF-B) and will be informed from time to time,” Dr Noor Hisham said in a statement.

He added that the NPRA has also issued conditional registration approval for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine manufactured by SK Bioscience from South Korea.

Previously, the regulator approved AstraZeneca vaccine manufacturers from the Netherlands’ AstraZeneca Nijmegen and Thailand’s Siam Bioscience.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the regulatory approval for Sinovac and AstraZeneca boosters will pave the way for the Vaccination Technical Working Group to recommend eligibility groups and inclusion of the coronavirus vaccines for the heterologous, or mix-and-match, booster vaccination programme.

It is not yet known if people double vaccinated with AstraZeneca will be given the option of choosing a booster with Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine.

The NPRA previously authorised a third Pfizer dose for individuals who had received either the same mRNA vaccine or Sinovac for their primary inoculation. However, take-up rates for the Pfizer boosters, particularly among Sinovac recipients, have been poor.

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