PETALING JAYA: A new Covid-19 wave may emerge in the next two to three months, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said the ministry advises the elderly and those who have chronic diseases to get a second Covid-19 booster dose to enhance their immunity.
He said as of yesterday, the ministry had not received any report of severe side effects caused by the second booster shots.
“The ministry is encouraging high-risk individuals to be inoculated with the fourth Covid-19 vaccine shot.
“Covid-19 cases will fluctuate and a potential new infection wave might emerge in the next few months, despite the current situation being under control.
“It is possible within the next two to three months that a new wave might emerge, but the magnitude is still unknown.
“Based on the epidemiological developments in other countries, a new wave could possibly be ahead,” he said at a press conference after launching the Health Ministry Hospital Directors Conference yesterday.
He added that as of Monday, the total uptake of the second booster dose was 107,844 and those who are above 60 years old and suffering from chronic diseases totalled 57,834 of that figure.
Khairy said with the continuous improvements in managing Covid-19 patients and the availability of antiviral medication, the ministry is confident the country is on track to go through this transition to the endemic phase effectively and safely.
He added the ministry has introduced a five-day PICKids campaign, starting yesterday, in conjunction with the launch of National Immunisation Week.
“The ministry decided to have this five-day programme upon request by parents and also because there are pockets of the population which have not received information on the Covid-19 vaccine.
“The ministry is helping these people to have access to the vaccination at health clinics. On the first day, 397 children were vaccinated, including 150 who had just turned five,” he added.
On Paxlovid being distributed to private hospitals, Khairy said the antiviral drug has been used to treat Covid-19 patients at government medical facilities since April 15.
He said Paxlovid is the first oral antiviral drug used in the country to treat Covid-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms (Categories 2 and 3).
He added that the government has given priority to providing Paxlovid to Covid-19 patients at high risk of severe infection.
“The use of Paxlovid has been extended to private health facilities. The drug is provided free to patients in private health facilities but patients are still subject to consultation charges and other related charges determined by private hospitals.”
He said the Health Ministry issued a circular and guideline regarding the expansion of Paxlovid treatment to the private sector on June 16.
Khairy said the guideline explains the procedure of initiating the treatment of Paxlovid antiviral drugs to patients and the method of ordering and obtaining the supply of the drug.
He added that monitoring the use of the drug and the requirement for the storage of medicines following the manufacturer’s recommendations was part of the guidelines.
“Private practitioners interested in participating in the programme can submit a letter of intent together with the Stock Application Form (KEW PS-8) to the respective state health department.
“Private clinics or hospitals need to obtain the supply of Paxlovid from health facilities identified by the ministry,” he added.