KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 – The federal territories of Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur report the highest Covid-19 booster vaccination rates in Malaysia, while Sabah has the poorest coverage of additional doses.
As of January 12, about 77 per cent of the adult population in the administrative centre of Putrajaya have received boosters or third coronavirus vaccine doses, followed by capital city Kuala Lumpur (72 per cent), and Sarawak (64 per cent).
The central states of Melaka and Negeri Sembilan came in next at under half their adult populations with 48 per cent and 44 per cent respectively.
Selangor, the country’s most developed state, came in sixth place with only 43 per cent of its adult residents receiving Covid-19 boosters or extra shots.
Penang, an urban state in the north, reported just 41 per cent booster coverage of its adult population.
All seven states and federal territories exceeded the national average adult booster vaccination rate of 36 per cent as of January 12, with some 8.5 million boosted individuals nationwide.
Sabah ranked bottom with a mere 11 per cent of its adult population having received Covid-19 vaccine boosters or additional jabs. The rural state’s coverage of complete vaccination is only 61 per cent of the total population, below the national 79 per cent average.
Minority Pfizer, AstraZeneca Primed Recipients Boosted
Some 53 per cent of individuals double-vaccinated with Sinovac have received their booster jabs as of January 12, the highest booster coverage compared to recipients of other primary vaccine courses.
This is likely due to the government’s requirement for all adults initially inoculated with the Chinese inactivated vaccine to get a booster by February 28 in order to retain their fully vaccinated status on MySejahtera. However, there are still some 4.7 million unboosted Sinovac recipients who risk losing their vaccine passes to enter public premises in six weeks.
Some 39 per cent of fully vaccinated people in Malaysia received the Sinovac primary course, or about 10 million individuals.
Only 18 per cent of those primed with Pfizer-BioNTech have received a booster. The mRNA vaccine is the most common coronavirus shot administered in Malaysia for 52 per cent of fully vaccinated individuals, or 13.4 million people.
Due to the initial six-month booster interval, Pfizer recipients were unable to get boosted earlier when third shots were rolled out in October, especially those who got their second dose from July onwards.
It was only in late December when the government shortened the booster interval to three months for Pfizer and AstraZeneca recipients.
Only 28 per cent of AstraZeneca primary recipients have been boosted as of January 12, a bigger share than 18 per cent of Pfizer recipients. AstraZeneca is the third most common Covid-19 vaccine used in Malaysia at about 8 per cent of fully vaccinated individuals, or two million people.
Like Pfizer, it’s unclear if the relatively low booster coverage among AstraZeneca recipients is due to the late eligibility for boosters, or if widespread hesitancy towards third jabs in general is a factor.
About 14 per cent of Sinopharm recipients have received third jabs, while only 1 per cent of individuals fully vaccinated with CanSino, a single-dose vaccine, have been boosted.
Slightly under 15,000 people in Malaysia have been fully vaccinated with Sinopharm, a Chinese-made vaccine that’s only available in the private market.
As for CanSino’s single-shot vaccine, more than 200,000 people have taken it, yet the vast majority at 99 per cent have not gotten a booster shot. With a dearth of vaccine effectiveness in global and local literature, the extent of any waning efficacy with CanSino’s single dose is unknown.
About 63 per cent of CanSino recipients, or some 128,000 people, live in Sabah. The government gave the single-jab CanSino to Sabahans for ease of access to those living in the interiors, but it is unclear just how protected they are now, either against the dominant Delta strain or the new Omicron variant.
The East Malaysian state has the lowest booster coverage in the country at 11 per cent of its adult population.
Over Half Of Senior Citizens Boosted
About 57 per cent of 3.5 million senior citizens aged 60 years and older have received Covid-19 boosters as of January 12.
That leaves about 1.5 million unboosted senior citizens who risk losing their fully vaccinated status on MySejahtera if they do not get a third jab by February 28.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said last January 6 that the Ministry of Health (MOH) would focus its elderly booster campaign in states with below 50 per cent coverage, such as Pahang, Terengganu, Perlis, Kelantan, and Sabah.
Only 32 per cent of 19.9 million people aged 18 to 59 in Malaysia have received boosters or additional vaccine shots.
Overall, while booster vaccination of older people is picking up pace, most states are seeing poor uptake of boosters, translating to low coverage on average across the nation. It’s currently unclear if the low proportion of third jabs among people double-vaccinated with AstraZeneca or Pfizer is due to slow appointments or possible reluctance.