As of 25 September 2021, 83.1% or 19,481,273 of the adult population in Malaysia have completed their Covid-19 vaccination. Malaysia achieved its target to fully vaccinate 80% of its adult population on 21 September 2021. The country is soon rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine third doses and booster shots. Is there a need for the fully vaccinated to get a third dose of vaccine or a booster shot?
Covid-19 vaccines approved in Malaysia
Malaysia has granted conditional approval for seven Covid-19 vaccines. The vaccines are made by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinovac, Sinopharm, CanSino and Johnson & Johnson. The first five vaccines require two doses. Meanwhile, the last two vaccines require only a single dose.
Covid-19 booster shots
For your information, a few countries including Thailand have started administering Covid-19 booster shots. The basis for booster shots is the decreasing immunity against the Covid-19 over a period of time after the completion of vaccination, as well as the rise of the Covid-19 variants such as the Delta variant. For instance, a British study showed that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine were 88% effective after a month. After five or six months, the vaccine effectiveness dropped to 74%.
Covid-19 vaccine third doses and booster shots
The Health Ministry is currently developing guidelines on third doses and booster shots for the Covid-19 vaccines. They will table the guidelines in the next meeting with the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV).
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin highlighted there is a difference between a third dose and a booster shot.
A third dose is for those who may have not obtained the level of protection they need from the first two doses. They require a third dose to achieve an optimum immune response.
A booster shot is for those who have enough immune response after receiving two doses of vaccine. However, their immune response reduces over time.
Who can get the Covid-19 vaccine third doses and booster shots?
For now, the Health Ministry will prioritize only targeted groups for the Covid-19 vaccine third doses and booster shots starting this October. These are the four target groups:
- The medical frontliners
- The immunocompromised (those having an impaired immune system and a reduced ability to fight against infections and other diseases)
- The elderly with comorbidities (the focus is on the elderly aged 60 and above with two or more diseases or medical conditions at the same time)
- Individuals who live or work in long-term healthcare facilities
As the government is developing the guidelines on the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine third doses and booster shots, do keep yourself updated with the latest news regarding Covid-19. Follow official channels such as COVIDNOW and Majlis Keselamatan Negara’s official Telegram for verified information.
Also, remember to never let your guard down as we’re still not free from the Covid-19. For an added protection, consider getting yourself life and medical insurance that meets your budget and needs at Bjak.