Khairy: Elderly Sinovac Recipients Highest Risk For Covid-19 Without Boosters

Khairy Jamaluddin says the Sinovac vaccine has faster waning immunity than Pfizer.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 — Senior citizens who received Sinovac for their primary Covid-19 vaccination face the highest risk for the disease, Khairy Jamaluddin said today, urging them to take their booster shots.

The health minister said the initial 40 per cent no-show rate for Covid-19 booster vaccination appointments has declined dramatically after the government opened up registration for back-up lists at vaccination sites (PPVs), as PPVs are now able to almost use up their supply every day.

However, he noted that there is still a minority, especially senior citizens double vaccinated with Sinovac, who skip their Covid-19 booster appointments. 

PPVs under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) mostly offer Pfizer as the preferred Covid-19 booster, regardless of the type of vaccine taken for primary vaccination, and AstraZeneca as an alternative.

“I want to tell this group, especially senior citizens who received the Sinovac vaccine for their primary course, that they have the highest risk if they don’t get a booster dose,” Khairy told a press conference today.

“So the Ministry of Health (MOH) is advising elderly people who received Sinovac as their primary vaccination to quickly attend appointments to get booster doses, especially with the latest development on the existence of the Omicron variant that is clearly more transmissible than the Delta variant.

“Although Omicron is still not in Malaysia yet, prevention methods must be taken for all senior citizens to receive their boosters, especially those who received Sinovac because Sinovac’s waning immunity is faster than Pfizer.”

The RECoVaM real-world Covid-19 vaccine study undertaken by the Institute for Clinical Research (ICR) under MOH revealed that Sinovac’s vaccine efficacy against intensive care unit (ICU) admission and Covid-19 infection declined to just 28 per cent in three to five months after complete vaccination.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine remained strongly protective against ICU admission at 79 per cent efficacy in the same period. The mRNA shot’s efficacy against coronavirus infection dropped to 68 per cent in three to five months after the second jab from 89 per cent. 

Khairy earlier today tweeted in Chinese that mix-and-match Covid-19 booster vaccination is safe and effective, according to international studies, in an effort to curb vaccine hesitancy in the Chinese community, some of whom are reluctant to get a Pfizer booster to their primary Sinovac vaccination.

The health minister also said Malaysia has administered 2,457,510 Covid-19 booster doses to date. He plans to raise the target for daily booster doses to 150,000 jabs from 120,000. The booster vaccination rate will be gradually increased, he said, to hit 200,000 daily doses administered.

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