KUALA LUMPUR: Mixing different Covid-19 vaccine types is now allowed as booster shots for Malaysians starting this month, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
Mixing different Covid-19 vaccines, or known as heterologous vaccination, was given the green light by the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) last week, he added.
“Studies on this method were already conducted and it was recommended by the committee last week to adopt it,“ Khairy said in response to a question by Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun (PN-Beaufort) whether the ministry is considering using the method and if studies have been conducted.
Additionally, Khairy said no deaths related to vaccinations have been reported thus far and the number of those having serious side effects after getting vaccinated is extremely low.
Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna) then questioned what happened to Sarawak following a recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the state on Oct 3 with the highest number of cases being 1,418.
To this, Khairy said it may be largely due to the earlier reopening of some sectors compared to other states and the waning effect of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“There may be a possibility of a waning effect, it means that the effect of these vaccines is starting to decrease and needed booster shots which the Health Ministry will give to the elderly in Sarawak this month,“ he said.
As of Oct 2, Khairy said the percentage of the adult population who have received a single dose has reached 94.3% while 87.2% have completed both doses.
As for teenagers aged between 12 and 17, a total of 1,666,131 (52.9%) have received their first dose of Comirnaty vaccine and 92,949 (3.0%) have completed their second doses.
“A total of five states recorded the highest number of vaccine recipients in the National Covid-19 Immunisation Program (PICK) Adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old, namely Labuan (77.9%) , followed by Malacca (75.1%), Perlis (74.9%), Kedah (74.6%) and Putrajaya (69.0%),“ he said.
Meanwhile, he said the ministry has planned and is prepared to address the emergence of new variants of Covid-19 which includes the control of international entrance to prevent the entry of new variants into Malaysia from abroad by doing a risk assessment of travellers from countries at risk.
“Infection risk assessment is conducted and they must undergo compulsory quarantine at home or place of residence. Travellers who do not comply with these conditions are required to undergo quarantine for 14 days at the quarantine centres,“ he said.
“The 14 -day quarantine period will be continued for another seven days (making the total quarantine 21 days) if there is a need based on the results of the risk assessment on the 14th day.
“In addition, the country only allows the entry of confirmed travellers who tested negative for Covid-19 with an RT-PCR laboratory test report performed three days before departure, perform swab tests on travellers at the International Entry Gate on the day of arrival with RT-PCR; and lab tests on Day 10 for individuals quarantined for 14 days and testing on the 18th day for necessary individuals who underwent quarantine for 21 days,“ he said.