KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 – The Health Ministry (MOH) today updated its recommendation to allow people aged 60 and older with high risk comorbidities to receive a second Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose voluntarily.
Sick seniors can get their second Covid booster jab at least four to six months after their initial booster dose, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.
The MOH classifies individuals with “high risk comorbidities” as those with diabetes, chronic lung disease, renal disease (underlying dialysis), cerebrovascular disease, heart failure, ischemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, chronic neurological disease, have a body mass index (BMI) of over 40, and are residents of long-term care facilities.
Khairy said the decision was made following a detailed review by the Technical Working Group (TWG) panel on various scientific and cohort studies that showed individuals aged 60 and older with comorbidities being more at risk to severe Covid-19 infection and death due to the coronavirus.
“We will announce the details on how they can set an appointment so on – this is an option for them. This is not like what was done under PICK (National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme) earlier, we are [now] giving them the option,” Khairy told a media briefing in Parliament today.
Khairy gave his assurance that elderly individuals eligible for the second booster shot will not lose their fully vaccinated status if they decide against a second Covid-19 booster dose.
A second mRNA booster dose is also available to healthy individuals aged 60 years and above though prior consultation and recommendation from their physicians are required.
The TWG also issued a booster shot recommendation for adolescents aged 12 to 17 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, such as cancer patients, teens who are undergoing organ transplantation with immunosuppressive therapy, those undergoing long-term hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, and other conditions or diseases classified as moderate or severe immunocompromised details in the MOH Clinical Guidelines.
The booster jab can be given at least 28 days after the second primary dose is administered.
Individuals who are planning to travel abroad can also be given a second booster shot to meet travelling requirements, especially in countries that do not recognise Sinovac. The second mRNA shot should be administered at least one month after the previous dose.
When asked if the government had sufficient Covid-19 vaccine stock for second boosters, Khairy said the government has 5.6 million Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses in balance.
“So, this is enough to accommodate the second booster dose because we don’t think many people will qualify (for the second dose) in terms of age and comorbidities, so we have enough. We will announce how appointments for the second Covid-19 vaccine booster can be made on MySejahtera soon,” Khairy said.