KUCHING (Nov 7): The Health Ministry and the Drug Control Authority (DCA) of Malaysia should consider speeding up the conditional approval for Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine to be used as booster shots.
The Federation of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions Chinese Associations (Youth Section) treasurer Aaron Tay Kok Tung hailed Sarawak as the first state to give the Covid-19 vaccine booster dose – an exercise that took off on Oct 13, prioritising the medical officers and frontliners, as well as those aged above 60.
“Sarawak has been actively carrying out the booster-dose programme where some of those below 60 years old have received their appointments for the third dose.
“However there are those, who were inoculated with Sinovac vaccines for their first two doses, who are hesitant in getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as a booster dose, under the ‘mix-and-match’ approach.”
“They would rather postpone their vaccination appointment until the government has approved Sinovac to be used as the booster shot,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Tay said Pharmaniaga Bhd recently offered the Sinovac vaccines to the Health Ministry to accommodate those preferring to take this brand as their booster shots.
Therefore, he said the ministry should look into the issue seriously and then, expedite the approval process.
He said the state Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian had, via his social media post, stated that at the moment Sarawak had 140,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine available in refrigerated storage.
“These vaccines could be used as booster shots once its usage has been approved,” said Tay.
He stressed that it was necessary to ensure more people would receive the booster dose to help curb the spread of Covid-19 and reduce the number of death cases due to the virus, especially with the Sarawak state election being expected to be called at any time soon.
“We want to ensure the health and safety of everyone, particularly the voters.
“To date, some countries such as China, Turkey, Chile, Indonesia and Cambodia have approved the use of Sinovac as a booster vaccine shot, proving that it is safe,” added Tay.