The government will expand the COVID-19 booster dose programme to those who have been inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine.

As a start, individuals aged above 60 who have completed both doses of their Sinovac vaccine at least three months ago, will receive the Pfizer vaccine as the booster shot, beginning today, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced yesterday.

"They will be given the Cominarty vaccines, through heterologous vaccination (mixing vaccines).

"The booster dose will be given based on the recommendations by the World Health Organization's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (Sage) on Immunisation," he told a press conference, reported the New Straits Times (NST).

According to him further, the booster dose programme will be led by private medical practitioners, and eligible individuals would be notified through their MySejahtera application, or through SMS for those without the app.

The booster doses, which are free and voluntary, is aimed to ensure optimum protection level for COVID-19 vaccine recipients in Malaysia.

Khairy said that the decision for the booster dose programme was taken after taking into account the increasing COVID-19-related hospitalisations in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Sarawak, and Negeri Sembilan, after the government allowed interstate travels on Oct 11.

The hospitalisations reportedly concern patients in Categories Three, Four, and Five.

Putrajaya introduced the booster dose programme with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for healthcare and security frontliners on Oct 13, and since then, more than 47,000 have received their booster shots.

To date, more than 2.41 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the country, while 28,234 people have died from it.

The global COVID-19 infection and death tally has surpassed 243 million, and 4.94 million, respectively.

Source: NST
Photo source: Astro Awani