KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — Malaysia peaked early in its Covid-19 booster vaccination programme in the third week of January, stagnating at 53 per cent of adults inoculated with their third shot.
According to the CovidNow site, since the peak of 265,789 people boosted on January 19, daily booster numbers fell by 59 per cent to 108,034 yesterday.
As of February 6, only 68 per cent of fully vaccinated seniors aged 60 years and older, or 2.3 million of 3.3 million people, have received third vaccine doses.
Only 67 per cent of individuals initially inoculated with Sinovac, or 6.7 million of 10 million people, have received their booster shot.
This means 1,076,788 senior citizens and 3,313,994 Sinovac recipients have yet to receive their boosters as of February 6.
An average of only 5,574 Sinovac recipients and 4,814 senior citizens received their booster shots every day for the past two weeks.
Based on the current booster vaccination rate, a cumulative 6,817,465 adult Sinovac recipients and 2,364,429 senior citizens would have gotten boosted by February 28, the last day for these groups to receive their third shot before losing their MySejahtera fully vaccinated status on March 1.
This means that 3,191,366 Sinovac recipients and 970,880 elderly people are set to lose access to public premises in March, as most places like malls and restaurants only allow entry to fully vaccinated individuals.
These two groups are not separate, as some people aged 60 years and above also received Sinovac primary vaccination, though such specific data is unavailable.
At the rate of 5,574 Sinovac recipients and 4,814 senior citizens receiving their third jab daily, it will take 595 days and 224 days to complete boosting the remaining 3,313,994 Sinovac recipients and 1,076,788 senior citizens respectively.
The booster vaccination rate among Sinovac recipients and elderly people, however, may increase in days to come, ahead of the February 28 deadline, as Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday announced that Sinovac boosters will now be made available in vaccination centres (PPVs) for those who want it.
The Ministry of Health (MOH), however, maintains its recommendation of Pfizer or AstraZeneca boosters for all, with Khairy likening those vaccines to a coat worn during winter, as opposed to the “T-shirt” Sinovac jab.
MOH requires individuals aged 60 years and older, regardless of which coronavirus vaccine they took for their primary course, as well as adults aged 18 years and older who were primed with Sinovac, to get a booster shot to retain their fully vaccinated status from March 1.
According to the Institute for Clinical Research, three vaccine doses are more than 90 per cent effective against Covid-19 infection.