The administration of the COVID-19 booster vaccine is based on current developments in relation to the effectiveness of vaccines and challenges arising from the emergence of new variants of the virus, the Health Ministry (MOH) said today.
It said the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme for the first and second doses was still actively implemented on Sept 20, 2021, with the rate of fully vaccinated adults then being at 79.6 per cent and still short of the 90 per cent target.
According to MOH, interstate travel was still not allowed and travel into and out of the country was tightly controlled then, apart from the fact that the comprehensive administering of the booster dose had yet to begin in September 2021.
"The administration (of booster dose) was implemented in stages, with priority then given to vulnerable groups comprising senior citizens, people with comorbidities and those exposed to risk of infection.
"Only after the majority of these groups had received the booster (dose) was the booster vaccination opened to the eligible general population,” MOH said in a statement on its Facebook page tonight.
It was clarifying a viral video on Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin talking about the third dose at a press conference after inspecting the COVID-19 screening services at KLIA on Sept 20, 2021.
Khairy had said the booster dose at that time needed to be given to those aged 60 and above, and people with comorbidities or immunocompromised, while healthy individuals were not encouraged to take the jab.
MOH said countries like the United Kingdom, the United States, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore also offered the booster dose to their adult populations. - Bernama