Health Ministery Khairy Jamaluddin has announced a shorter COVID-19 vaccine booster dose interval for Pfizer and AstraZeneca recipients, cutting down from 6 to 3 months. Previously, the technical working group of the COVID-19 immunisation task force recommends individuals fully vaccinated with Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines to get their booster shot 6 months after receiving the second dose. The shorter 3-month interval for boosters is also recommended by health regulators in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.
Based on the current recommendation, individuals fully vaccinated with two doses of AstraZeneca are now recommended to get Pfizer as their booster shot. AstraZeneca booster is permitted as an alternative.
According to Khairy, the booster dose is currently offered to adults aged 18 years old and above, and appointments will be pushed via MySejahtera. The booster interval for individuals fully vaccinated with Sinovac remains unchanged at 3 months after receiving the second dose. The new shorter 3 months interval is also applicable to individuals who are fully vaccinated with Sinopharm, Moderna, CanSino Bio, and Sputnik V.
The booster doses are currently being administrated as data shows that vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 wanes over time. Early data also suggests that the booster doses may increase protection levels against the new Omicron variant. Khairy has previously announced that Sinovac recipients and senior citizens are required to get their booster shot by February 2022 in order to maintain their fully vaccinated status.
At the time of writing, over 5 million vaccine booster doses have been administered so far which is equivalent to 23.3% of the target population. Sarawak currently leads in the booster dose programme covering more than 53% of its eligible adult population.