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Pfizer & AZ Recipients Can Now Take Booster Shots 3 Months After 2nd Dose

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the interval has been shortened from the initial six months recommendation.

Cover image via Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (Facebook) & The Globe and Mail

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Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine recipients are now encouraged to take their booster shots three months after they have completed their primary vaccination

In a press conference today, 28 December, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the interval has been shortened from the ministry's initial six months recommendation.

He said the new recommendation is made based on data and guidelines made by health experts in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

"There has been strong evidence that COVID-19 boosters may increase protection against infections by the Omicron variant. An early study involving 21 million booster doses in the United Kingdom showed convincing data," he announced.

With the new recommendation, booster doses for all vaccine types available in Malaysia is now standardised to a three-month interval after an individual's second dose

Besides Pfizer and AstraZeneca, Sinovac recipients have already been recommended to take their booster doses three months after their primary vaccination.

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), the appointments will be rolled out according to deescalating age and risk factors.

Priority will still be given to high-risk groups such as:
- Frontliners
- Adults aged 40 and above
- Adults aged 18 and above with comorbidities
- Staff and residents of care facilities
- Individuals travelling abroad
- Pregnant mothers

Besides that, Khairy said the travel ban to eight South African countries has been lifted

He cited that the Omicron variant has already spread worldwide and it would "make no sense" to continue the travel ban to these specific countries.

However, he said the countries — including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi — will remain on Malaysia's list of high-risk nations alongside the UK, the US, and Australia, with travellers from those countries subject to additional restrictions upon arrival.

Here are some other quick facts about the COVID-19 booster shots:

Read more about COVID-19 vaccines here on SAYS: