PETALING JAYA: A third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for moderately or severely immunocompromised children and adolescents between the ages of five and 17 will be offered, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

For adults, a second booster dose will be offered to high-risk individuals aged between 18 to 59 and frontline health workers.

Khairy said a third dose is recommended for immunocompromised children and adolescents as part of their primary vaccine series as their initial immune response from the two-dose regimen may not have been strong enough.

“Children between the ages of five and 11 who had been certified as immunocompromised by medical experts from both public and private sectors are eligible to take the third dose eight weeks after their second dose.

“Those who are 12 to 17-years-old who have been certified as moderately or severely immunocompromised can get the third dose 28 days after their second dose.

“Immunocompromised youths aged 12 to 17 are also eligible to get their first booster dose three months after their third dose.

“This move is to give optimum protection to these groups, protecting them from getting severe complications due to Covid-19,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said that up until Tuesday, the rate of Covid-19 vaccination among adolescents stood at 93.5% but studies from abroad showed that vaccine effectiveness in adolescents waned by 42% and 73% five to 10 months after receiving a second dose.

On April 14, he said the Health Ministry had outlined the administration of booster doses to moderately and severely immunocompromised individuals aged 12 years and older.

“However, based on the level of effectiveness of the vaccine among high-risk adolescents, the ministry’s Technical Working Group recommends that the booster dose for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals aged 12 to 17 years be re-categorised as the third dose instead and be complementary to primary vaccination,” he said.

Only after completing the primary vaccination of three doses, then the first dose of the booster can be given to moderately or severely immunocompromised adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.

Khairy also said a second booster will be offered to individuals aged between 18 to 59 at high risk of severe Covid-19 infection and frontline health workers.

This will be given at least six months after receiving the first booster and after consultation with any registered medical practitioner, said Khairy.

He also said that the CanSino vaccine will be used as a heterologous booster for all adults regardless of the type of vaccine received for the primary doses.

“Those who are eligible for the CanSino booster dose are individuals aged 18 years and older who have received a primary dose of the Covid-19 vaccine other than CanSino and Sinovac,” he said.

The CanSino booster will be given at least three months after receiving the second dose of the primary vaccine.

“The ministry urges all eligible individuals to obtain these services so that the Malaysian population gets optimal protection against Covid-19,” he said.