Pakatan Harapan urges the federal government to set clear criterias and implementation strategies to ensure smooth rollout especially when Malaysia is expecting up to 8.75 million people who will receive the third, or booster, dose.
Government Urged To Set Clear Strategy For Booster Shots Says Pakatan Harapan
The health committee of Pakatan Harapan has asked the Health Ministry to produce a comprehensive rollout strategy for Covid-19 vaccination booster doses.
“The federal government must set clear criteria and implementation strategy to ensure smooth rollout especially when we are expecting up to 8.75 million people who will receive the third, or booster, dose.”
“The rollout needs to be properly planned, specific, and well-coordinated among all stakeholders including private general practitioners (GPs) who are tasked to handle booster shots for frontliners and senior citizens,” Harapan said in a statement.
Additionally, the committee reiterated the Malaysian Medical Association’s (MMA) concerns regarding state health agencies’ lack of engagement in the booster program’s rollout.
“This should not be the case as lessons should have been learnt from past mistakes including involving the private GPs only at the very last minute,” said Harapan.
In terms of the vaccination booster rollout strategy, Harapan is requesting that the Health Ministry:
- Establish a clear rollout timeline for the whole country.
- Establish clear definitions and groups of individuals who are eligible.
- Establish a detailed plan to educate individuals who are eligible about the significance of the third dose or booster.
- Engage private doctors as soon as possible.
- As soon as possible, approve heterologous vaccination with booster doses.
Malaysia has the world’s 20th highest Covid-19 vaccination rate, according to statistics reported by the website Our World in Data.
The country is reported to have fully vaccinated 66.84 percent of its population, which puts it slightly ahead of Sweden (66.73 percent), Japan (66.37 percent), and the United Kingdom (66.37 percent).
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in September that clinical guidelines for booster doses and third doses were still being prepared but that they will be implemented in October.
He also distinguished between “third doses" and “booster doses."
The minister stated that a “third dose" is given to individuals who do not have a strong enough immune response to Covid-19 after two doses.
A “booster dose" refers to additional vaccine doses given to individuals who had a sufficient immune response after their initial vaccination but whose protection had diminished over time.
As a result, they need the booster to enhance the immune system and ensure ongoing disease protection.
Last week, Sarawak started administering third doses and booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccination.