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Sarawak rolls out administration of booster shots, third Covid-19 jab

Rosemawati said Sarawak will start administering the third dose and booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine today — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KUCHING, Oct 13 — The State Health Department will begin administering the third dose and booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine to eligible residents in Sarawak from today, said deputy director Dr Rosemawati Ariffin.

She said priority will be given to high-risk groups namely the immunocompromised, senior citizens and medical frontliners.

“The third dose will be administered to an estimated 11,900 people who are immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system due to disease or medical treatment.

“For the booster shots, we have targeted 80,300 senior citizens above ages 60 and 30,340 medical frontliners,” she said in a statement on behalf of State Health director Datuk Dr Mohamed Sapian Mohamed.

She said the third dose and booster shots will be available at selected government health clinics, private hospitals and private clinics.

“Those who are eligible can contact the respective clinics in advance to make an appointment.

“The list of participating government health clinics, clinics and private hospitals will be announced progressively through the mass media and social media channels to facilitate the appointment process,” she said.

Sarawak is the first state to roll out the booster shots.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin during his working visit here last month said the government had agreed for Sarawak to start the booster dose programme as the state was the first to complete the vaccination programme.

Dr Rosemawati said the administering of the third dose and booster shots did not mean that the Covid-19 vaccine administered previously did not provide the clinical protection.

“It will provide additional protection to vulnerable groups particularly those who have weakened immune systems and the previous two doses of vaccines were not enough to give them the level of protection they need or stimulate their immune system to fight the Covid-19 infection,” she said.

She explained that the third dose of Covid-19 vaccine is defined as the administration of an additional dose of vaccine when a person’s immune response at an early stage is likely to be inadequate following the initial administration of the vaccine in a row (primary vaccine series) whereas a booster dose is the vaccine dose for a person who initially has a sufficient immune response to the primary vaccine series but may become less over time.

“The Primary Vaccine Series is defined as a series of vaccine-doses administered sequentially to achieve an initial protective immune response among a target population for a specified period of time (most appropriately measured as a seroprotection-vaccine rate with a target exceeding 95 per cent),” she added.

She said under the current policy of the Ministry of Health on the third dose and booster dose, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for booster dose.

“To date, approval has been given for vaccines that have similar functions to vaccines that have been given successively in the early stages (homologous vaccination).

“The interval from the last dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to the third dose is at least 28 days after receiving the second dose while for booster shots, it should be administered at least six months after the second dose,” she said.

She hoped that through the third dose and booster shots of Covid-19 vaccine, especially to high-risk groups, this will enable Sarawak and Malaysia to get out of the pandemic situation and to start the transition to the endemic phase.

For further enquiries regarding the Covid-19 booster dose, please call the State Health Department’s hotlines at 082-473276 or 082-473345 which are operational on a daily basis (including weekends and public holidays) between 8am and 5pm. — Borneo Post

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