Booster jabs for us from next month

Dr Sim Kui Hian

KUCHING: Sarawak could be the first state in Malaysia to administer Covid-19 booster vaccine jabs to its residents, starting next month.

Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said this is targeted at those who still have no immunity to the coronavirus or those whose immunity has waned.

“Based on professional observation, the earliest that we need the additional dose is in October,” he said in a Facebook post.

Dr Sim was responding to an earlier statement by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin who said waning of vaccine effects over time could be the reason for the spike in Covid-19 infections in Sarawak.

He welcomed the federal minister’s announcement to study the need for booster shots to counter the situation in the state, which has been reporting the highest daily Covid-19 cases in the country over the past few days.

He added, in the past, Sarawak had benefitted from the close collaboration with the federal ministry which had yielded a number of achievements.

“Sarawak was the first state to have achieved a high vaccination rate in Malaysia and the first state to start vaccinating those aged between 12 to 17 years, starting with the 16 to 17 years old group this week.

“The impact of vaccination in Sarawak can be seen with decrease in severity and death despite the surge in cases due to the Delta variant,” he said.

On Thursday, Khairy said while Sarawak was among the states with the highest vaccination rates in terms of adult population coverage, it continued to register high Covid-19 cases.

“I will be heading over to Sarawak maybe next week to discuss with the state government on what additional measures we can take to try to reduce the increasing Covid-19 transmission there.

“I have also asked the technical working group that advises on vaccine selection to quickly provide JKJAV (Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply) with recommendations on booster shots.

“Other countries have started administering booster shots especially to the elderly, the immune-compromised, healthcare workers. So, we are certainly not ruling that out,” Khairy had said.