This Valentine’s Day, Sinovac recipients hesitant of the Pfizer vaccine are getting a treat as the Ministry of Health (MoH) will be making Sinovac boosters available for walk-ins at all Offsite PPVs. Pfizer or AstraZeneca are still highly recommended by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, but the China-made shot is being given out anyway as an option in order to encourage booster uptake amongst those who are reluctant to mix vaccine brands.
This comes after the minister revealed last week that 3.5 million Sinovac recipients had yet to take their third dose, despite this group being the highest at risk as its efficacy has been found to wane dramatically over time. Previously, it was MoH’s policy to only administer Sinovac boosters to those allergic to Pfizer or AstraZeneca, requiring others who are still adamant to pay for the shot in the private market.
Any booster is better than no booster. Walaupun @KKMPutrajaya syorkan dos penggalak Pfizer atau AZ untuk memberi top up perlindungan yang terbaik, ada yang masih minta pilihan. We still strongly recommend a Pfizer or AZ boost. But something is better than nothing. https://t.co/iyqM4AdnhX
— Khairy Jamaluddin (@Khairykj) February 12, 2022
Research from Hong Kong has shown that Sinovac boosters for those who received the same brand for their primary doses do not provide sufficient protection against the Omicron variant of COVID-19, while a real-world Malaysian study similarly showed that the homologous combination provides lower efficacy. With the ongoing surge of infections now reaching over 20,000 cases daily, MoH is ramping up booster shots by opening up walk-ins at all PPVs nationwide.
For those who still want a Sinovac vaccine, the list of Offsite PPVs can be found at ProtectHealth’s website. As a reminder, starting 1 March, Sinovac recipients and any senior citizen who have not gotten a booster will lose their status as fully vaccinated on MySejahtera, revoking the privilege to enter most establishments.
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