A third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will now be given to high-risk groups such as frontliners and senior citizens to boost their protection, according to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob
The booster shots will be given after 80% of the country's population have been fully vaccinated, he said.
As of yesterday, 18 September, 78.2% of the adult population has been fully vaccinated.
Prime Minister (PM) Ismail, in a statement today, 19 September, said that the government has agreed to the administration of the booster shots with the priority to be given to high-risk groups.
Those in this group, Ismail said, include healthcare frontliners, people who are immune-compromised, the elderly with comorbidities, and those residing and working at long-term health care facilities.
In this regard, a panel of medical and health experts are currently developing guidelines for the implementation of the booster shots
Ismail said that the third dose can increase the level of immunity in individuals who are at high risk as their immunity may decrease over a period of time after their second vaccine dose.
Details for the booster shots will be announced by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, he added.
According to Khairy, the implementation of booster shots is expected to begin in early October.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister also announced a COVID-19 Care Package (PPC) of RM471.6 million for those in the B40 income group
According to Ismail, the allocation — expected to benefit 3.6 million families in the B40 household — is aimed at alleviating their financial burden and assisting them in protecting themselves against COVID-19 as the country moves towards treating the pandemic as an endemic.
Each PPC kit will contain four reusable face masks, four COVID-19 self-test kits, one pulse oximeter, one thermometer including information material on usage and health matters.
"This is to ensure 'Keluarga Malaysia' (Malaysian Family — the official tagline given by Ismail for his administration) in the B40 category can protect themselves as well as their family from the virus," he said.
In total, 8.4 million eligible recipients of Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) will receive the care package.
"The distribution of the items and devices under the PPC will begin with recipients of Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat with households. This group are people with B40 incomes who are married with or without children, or single fathers or mothers with children," he added.
Remember to limit your movement and keep practising physical distancing. Find out the latest COVID-19 updates on the Ministry of Health's COVIDNOW website.