Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has announced that Malaysia will begin administrating the second COVID-19 vaccine booster dose specifically for high-risk senior citizens. It is highly recommended for senior citizens under long-term medical care.
Second Booster for seniors with comorbidities
According to the statement, the decision to offer a second booster is made after the Technical Working Group (TWG) evaluated scientific research and cohort studies that show individuals aged 60 years and above with comorbidities such as lung, heart, kidney and liver diseases, as well as diabetes, have a higher risk of having serious symptoms and death due to COVID-19. A second booster will provide increased protection against COVID-19 and it will be offered on a voluntary basis. It is not compulsory and the vaccination status will not be affected if high-risk senior citizens don’t take the extra booster.
At the moment, the second booster is only recommended for high-risk senior citizens aged 60 and above with comorbidities. Non-high risk and healthy senior citizens are advised to consult their doctor for a second booster dose recommendation.
Pfizer (Comirnaty) is currently the recommended COVID-19 vaccine for the second booster shot. It is recommended to be administered at least 4 to 6 months after receiving the first booster shot. If a booster senior citizen has recently contracted COVID-19, they are eligible to get the second booster 3 months after full recovery.
Second booster available for travel purposes
The Ministry of Health is aware that some European countries do not recognise Sinovac or Sinopharm as the primer and booster dose for COVID-19 vaccination. For individuals intending to travel overseas, they may request for a second booster dose with Pfizer at least one month after their first booster to fulfill their travel requirements. Further details of the second booster programme will be shared later.
The Ministry of Health has also revealed that a total of 701 individuals have been issued digital vaccination exemption certificates. These are individuals who can’t get vaccinated due to health reasons and they will be exempted from getting boosters automatically.
Individuals who can’t get a booster shot due to health reasons, especially seniors who received Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, can apply for a digital exemption certificate if they haven’t already. To get an exemption, they would need to get an official letter from a healthcare professional and submit an application at the nearest Health District Office by presenting a COVID-19 vaccine assessment slip.
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