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The Ministry of Health is studying the need for a second booster dose

Published on: Saturday 01 January 2022

By: FMT

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The technical team of the Ministry of Health will propose recommendations to the working group on vaccination against Covid-19 after carrying out some studies. (photo Bernama)

PETALING JAYA: The Ministry of Health is investigating the need for a second booster dose following the increased prevalence of infection with the Omicron variant inside and outside the country. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the Health Ministry referred to a foreign study which found that the two-dose vaccine dose of Sinovac followed by a single Pfizer-BioNTech booster is less effective against the variant. He said the ministry’s technical team will offer recommendations to the Covid-19 Immunization Task Force (CITF) after completing their own studies.

Khairy was asked if recipients of the Sinovac vaccine who took the Pfizer booster might need an additional fourth dose. “We have received the news (about the study). The technical team is reviewing the research and will make recommendations to the CITF as usual on whether those who received Sinovac (doses) and a Pfizer (booster) should receive another dose,” he said during a press conference today. However, he said it was still too early to draw any firm conclusions from the alien study. Yesterday, a study by researchers from Yale University, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Health and other institutions found that the two-dose Sinovac vaccine, followed by a Pfizer booster, showed a weaker immune response against Omicron variant compared to other strains.

According to the study cited by Reuters, two doses of the primary Sinovac vaccine and a Pfizer booster shot produced an antibody response similar to a two-dose mRNA vaccine. He said antibody levels against Omicron were 6.3 times lower compared to the ancestral variant and 2.7 times lower compared to Delta. One of the study authors, Akiko Iwasaki, said people vaccinated with Sinovac’s CoronaVac might need two additional booster doses to achieve the required levels of protection against Omicron. Earlier, the chief executive of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Albert Bourla, also spoke about the need for a fourth dose to fight against the Covid-19 virus which has mutated into the Omicron variant.

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According to him, the threat posed by this new variant has proven that the virus will continue to mutate and a second booster shot can prevent those infected with the variant from falling into critical condition.
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