Covid-19: Surge in demand for second booster shots amid new wave

PETALING JAYA: Uptake for the second Covid-19 vaccine boosters has recorded a surge, with an increase of infections since early June.

The increase of infections, partly driven by the highly infectious BA.5 Omicron subvariant of the virus, has led to almost double the number of second booster doses dispensed compared to weeks before that.

Statistics by the Health Ministry revealed that 9,995 people received their second booster dose on Thursday (July 14).

In comparison, the average was just 5,126 doses administered per day, seven days prior and 2,529 doses per day in the seven days before that.

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So far, out of 2.57 million senior citizens who had taken their first booster dose, only 93,496 (3.63%) have proceeded to get their second booster dose.

On May 12, the government expanded the eligibility criteria to receive booster doses, opening it up for people aged 18 to 59 if they have chronic diseases after consulting a medical practitioner.

Those aged 60 and above can receive a second Covid-19 vaccine booster dose voluntarily four to six months after their first booster.

Those aged between 18 and 59 could also receive a second booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine if they met certain criteria.

Others who are at clinical risk of severe disease such as chronic heart, lung, kidney, liver disease, among others, may be offered a second booster dose within four to six months after receiving a booster dose injection after discussing with a registered medical practitioner.

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Those aged between 12 and 17 could also be offered a first booster dose after receiving the primary dose injection following discussion with a registered medical practitioner, or if they were at clinical risk of severe disease.

Healthcare workers, regardless of age or health status, and those who require additional doses for travel purposes, are also eligible.

Meanwhile, it was reported that seven million Malaysians have yet to take their booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Non-boosted Malaysians who have tested positive for the virus or are at high risk are also urged to get the antiviral drug Paxlovid, which has been made available at the Health Ministry’s facilities since April 15.

Paxlovid is the first oral antiviral drug in Malaysia to treat Covid-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms (Categories Two and Three).