KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 – AstraZeneca vaccine recipients cannot yet register in advance to walk in for their Covid-19 booster shots, ProtectHealth Corporation said today, as the earliest batch will only be eligible from January 8.
Anas Alam Faizli, CEO of ProtectHealth that is managing private medical practitioners involved in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), said those initially vaccinated with AstraZeneca-Oxford’s shot can register on vaccination centres’ (PPVs) waiting lists once they have fulfilled the recommended six months’ interval period after their second dose.
“Eligible AstraZeneca recipients would start receiving their appointment as the six-month interval is met. If they are eligible and did not receive appointments, they can also register in a backup vaccinee list,” Anas told CodeBlue.
“For now, no AstraZeneca recipients are eligible yet as the six-month interval is not met. They can start registering as a backup list once they’re eligible.”
“They can visit ProtectHealth website to see the list of PPVs, contact the PPVs and register their details as a backup vaccinee list.”
The backup list is used by PPVs to call individuals to walk in and replace any no-shows.
However, certain PPVs — such as Biomedicare Clinic and Klink Ceria in Johor, as well as Family Care Clinic Sepanggar in Sabah — were ready to include ineligible vaccine recipients in their waiting lists.
“Please send us your details. We will include your name in our waiting list and contact you once you are eligible,” a personnel from Family Care Clinic Sepanggar told CodeBlue.
Some PPVs like Mediviron Uptown in Selangor, Klinik Ihsan & Siti Sdn Bhd in Melaka, and Gul Medical Centre in Perak do not allow AstraZeneca recipients to be included under their waiting lists.
“We haven’t received approval to include AstraZeneca vaccine recipients in our list yet,” a staff from Mediviron Uptown told CodeBlue today.
At least three PPVs are also allowing people to walk in for their additional shot, without prior registration or a MySejahtera appointment.
Individuals only need to have passed the minimum interval period from their second dose — currently set at three months for Sinovac and six months for Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford — before walking in to certain PPVs, without having to register on the back-up lists of PPVs or waiting for an appointment on the MySejahtera app.
Currently, only adults aged 18 and above are eligible for booster shots.
Checks by CodeBlue showed that three PPVs — An-Nur Specialist Hospital in Selangor, Famicare Clinic in Johor, and Anggun Medi Clinic in Kuala Lumpur — allow eligible individuals to walk into their premises to get a Covid-19 booster shot without prior registrations or appointments.
After confirming the vaccine brand and date of the second dose, a staff from Famicare Clinic said yesterday: “You can come now for the booster shot and give your personal particulars once you are here.”
Another staff from An-Nur Specialist Hospital said: “We allow walk-ins for booster shots for eligible individuals from Monday to Friday, 9am until 3pm.”
Anas told CodeBlue that ProtectHealth is not utilising its full capacity to administer Covid-19 booster shots yet.
“Currently we are utilising 65 per cent of our private medical practitioners’ capacity,” he said.
He urged eligible individuals to get a Covid-19 booster jab to protect themselves from the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
“Please immediately get your booster once you receive your appointment. For those who haven’t and are eligible, you can find a PPV at ProtectHealth’s website, contact the PPV and register as a backup list. Get it now and protect yourself against Omicron.”
Several other PPVs — such as Klinik Dr Mahmud in Pahang and Klinik Batu Lanchang in Penang — said they only administer Covid-19 booster shots for individuals with a MySejahtera appointment.
“Sorry, you can’t register for a booster jab. We only allow people with an appointment in MySejahtera,” a staff member from Klinik Batu Lanchang told CodeBlue.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin stated recently that the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) is currently reviewing the possibility of shortening the interval for Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine recipients from the current six months from the second dose.
At the same time, about 22 per cent of adults in the country have received an additional shot, according to the CovidNow site. Anas told CodeBlue that half of the 10 million adults who passed the minimum interval from their second dose have been boosted.
As of December 22, Malaysia has administered Covid-19 booster shots to 13.76 individuals per 100 people, lower than 19.39 in the United States and 46.45 in the United Kingdom, according to global tracker Our World In Data.
However, about 78 per cent of the Malaysian population have completed their primary vaccination series against the coronavirus as of December 23, compared to 69 per cent in the UK and 61 per cent in the US.
The Malaysian government has mandated everyone aged above 60 and all adults who received the Sinovac vaccine as their primary vaccine series to get an additional shot by next February to retain their “fully vaccinated” status on MySejahtera.
Individuals who fail to do so will not be eligible for privileges extended to recipients fully vaccinated against Covid-19.