Only 42.3% of children in Malaysia fully vaccinated against Covid-19

A total of 1.76 million or 49.8% of children aged between five and 11 in the country have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as of Tuesday (Aug 2), said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.

He said of the total, 1.5 million or 42.3% of the population have completed the vaccination while 1,030 children in the moderate to severe immunocompromised category within the same age range have received the third dose.

However, Dr Noor Azmi said the percentage is still low compared to the number of vaccination facilities provided for that group.

“It’s been almost six months since we launched the Covid-19 vaccine programme for children, the staff are doing a good job, the response and cooperation from state governments are also good, the response from private clinics is also encouraging.

“But the arms are not there,” he said when replying to a question from Wong Chen (PH-Subang) in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.

Dr Noor Azmi said the Health Ministry (MOH) is still continuing its efforts to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated including through electronic and social media.

To date, he said there are still 926 private premises that provide vaccination facilities and 14 off-site vaccination centres.

Meanwhile, for children who missed their second dose of the vaccine, he said parents can contact the nearest health clinic to make an appointment for the second dose. – The Edge Markets


Medicine shortage expected to be resolved in 2 weeks

The shortage of medicines in the country is expected to be resolved within two weeks, says deputy health minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.

He said the health ministry was working hard to resolve the issue quickly.

He said medicine supply was probably slow due to raw materials arriving late and possibly due to the sudden high demand.

“It is also likely due to the war in Ukraine.

“So, there is not only a shortage of meat and eggs but also medicines,” he said when met by reporters after opening the National Institute of Health scientific seminar here today.

Before this, the ministry had said it would release government medicine stockpiles to private clinics and hospitals following shortages in the market.

Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the move followed the loaning of medicines, as announced on June 13, from the ministry’s health clinics and hospitals to private clinics as part of a temporary solution. – FMT


More than 16 mn adults in Malaysia given the COVID-19 booster dose

A total of  16,137,205 adults or 68.6 per cent of their population in the country have received the COVID-19 booster dose as of yesterday.

Based on the COVIDNOW website, a total of 23,012,251 individuals or 97.8 per cent of the same population have completed the COVD-19 vaccination, while 23,289,632 adults or 99 per cent have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

For adolescents aged between 12 and 17, a total of  2,910,021 of them or 93.5 per cent of their population have completed the vaccination, while 2,998,844 of them or 96.4 per cent have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

p>Meanwhile, for children between five and 11 years-old, a total of 1,744,485 individuals or 49.2 per cent of their population have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 1,337,102 children or 37.7 per cent  have completed the vaccination.

Yesterday, a total of 10,645 doses of the vaccine were dispensed, involving 848 as first dose, 9,113 as second dose and 684 as booster dose, bringing the cumulative number of vaccine doses administered under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) to  71,214,563.

Meanwhile, according to the Health Ministry’s GitHub portal, no death due to COVID-19 was reported yesterday (Saturday). – Bernama


MOH implements temporary measures to address medicine supply shortage

The Health Ministry (MOH) has taken several temporary solutions to overcome the medicine supply shortage at private clinics and hospitals as well as community pharmacies in the country.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said private health facilities could apply for a loan of supply of medicines from other private health facilities or the nearest government health facility.

“Government health facilities can consider lending supplies of medicines for use during emergencies, crises and disasters by ensuring in advance the availability and balance of sufficient medicine stocks for the daily activities of the government health facilities,” he said in a statement today.

Khairy said if necessary, patients could be referred to the nearest government health facility to continue treatment, however, the patient may need to change the medication regimen based on the availability at the said facility.

He added that patients can also buy the medicines from community pharmacies with a prescription from the clinic or private hospital involved.

“The MOH hopes that these measures can provide a temporary solution to the medicine supply shortage at private health facilities to ensure the continuity of quality health services to the people,” he said.

He said that at the same time, the MOH had also started sharing information on the list of medicines with supply shortage issues and alternative product recommendations for these medicines with private medical practitioners, private hospitals and community pharmacies.

“This list will be updated from time to time. This measure is implemented to reduce the impact on the current situation and the optimal use of other generic drugs as alternatives, which still have a supply in the market.

“The MOH is working on a long-term solution to address this issue and continuous monitoring is being carried out to ensure the availability of medicines throughout Malaysia,” he said. – Bernama


Covid-19: Evusheld antibody treatment soon

The Ministry of Health (MOH) will start administering treatment with the monoclonal antibody drugs Tixagevimab and Cilgavimab (EVUSHELD) in the near future to ensure that high-risk groups continue to be protected from COVID-19 infection.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that currently the EVUSHELD antibody drugs would only be administered in government hospitals, and they could be used as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for those who were not yet infected with COVID19 but were at high risk of becoming infected.

“Studies show that the EVUSHELD antibody drugs can protect recipients against COVID-19 infection for a period of six months after injection,” he said in a statement, today.

Khairy explained that the method of administering the antibody drugs was through two consecutive intramuscular injections of Tixagevimab and Cilgavimab.

He said for immunocompromised patients who had received the COVID-19 vaccine, EVUSHELD should be given at least two weeks after vaccination.

Commenting further, Khairy said the assessment of the patient’s eligibility to receive the antibody medication would be done by the treating physician.

Among the selection criteria were those aged 12 and above; weighing more than 40kg and are among the moderate to severe Immunocompromised group (taking into account the immune response of this group to COVID-19 vaccination which is unlikely to reach a satisfactory level of immunity).

In addition, another criterion was individuals who were unable to take the vaccine completely due to medical reasons or had a history of severe reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, Khairy said that treatment using the antiviral drug Paxlovid to treat COVID-19 patients would be extended to selected private health facilities in the near future, to ensure better access to patients.

He added that the distribution of Paxlovid medicine to patients in private health facilities is free of charge, but patients are still subject to consultation service charges and other related charges determined by the private health facility.

The use of antiviral drug Paxlovid, which has been implemented at MOH health facilities since April 15, is the first oral antiviral drug in Malaysia to treat COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate symptoms (categories two and three).

In the meantime, he said the priority of Paxlovid treatment was to the high-risk group of COVID-19 patients.

“As of June 5, 2022, a total of 1,364 patients were given Paxlovid treatment and have fully recovered, and no serious side effects have been reported. This treatment has proven to be safe and effective, and can reduce the severe effects of infection and mortality of COVID-19 patients,” he said.

Khairy said that the MOH believed and was confident that Malaysia was now on the best track to go through the transition to endemic phase effectively and safely, due to the ever-improving medications and treatment methods. – Bernama


Over 22.86 million of adult population fully vaccinated

A total of 22,872,297 individuals or 97.7 per cent of the adult population in the country have completed the COVID-19 vaccination as of Wednesday.

Based on the Health Ministry’s COVIDNOW portal, a total of 23,160,259 individuals or 98.9 per cent of the group have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

For the adolescent population aged between 12 and 17, a total of 2,761,997 individuals or 87.8 per cent have completed the vaccination, while 2,852,677 individuals or 90.7 per cent of the group have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

A total of 245,326 doses of the vaccine were administered yesterday, with 2,747 of them as first dose, 3,859 as second dose and 238,720 as booster doses.

This brings to a total of 58,554,303 doses, including 7,107,613 in booster doses, having been dispensed under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme as of yesterday.

Meanwhile, according to the ministry’s GitHub portal, a total of 18 deaths were recorded yesterday, with three cases each reported in Pahang, Perak and Selangor.

Kedah, Melaka and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur recorded two deaths each, while Kelantan, Sabah and Terengganu with one death each. – Bernama


MOH: Booster dose given according to current developments on COVID-19

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


Latest research shows three doses of Sinovac vaccine effective against Omicron

New research data recently published by Sinovac Biotech Ltd shows that three doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine produced higher neutralising antibodies in 95 per cent of recipients compared with 3.3 per cent by the second dose against Variants of Concern (VOC), including Omicron.

Sinovac Biotech Ltd spokesperson Pearson Liu, through a statement issued by Pharmaniaga Berhad today, said the research provides reassurance that inactivated vaccines, one of the most widely used vaccines globally, remain effective in the fight against COVID-19.

“As the world continues to combat the emergence of new COVID-19 variants, the results support a three-dose immunisation regimen to ensure greater protection against COVID-19, a finding which aligns with the advice of the World Health Organisation and local health authorities around the world for all types of COVID-19 vaccines,” he said.

The statement stated that out of these 323 antibodies, more than 300 antibodies exhibited adequate killing activity against most VOCs and Variants of Interest (VOI), and the research also showed that the majority of those antibodies have the ability to react with the Omicron Receptor Binding Domains (RBD).

It added that about a dozen of the antibodies show a direct and highly potent neutralisation effect for the Omicron variant whereby those antibodies executed their neutralisation by directly blocking the interactions between the virus and its human cells.

“Thus proving that the booster dose of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine will activate T cells against the Omicron variant, in a similar way to the original strain,” the statement read.

Pharmaniaga Berhad is the leading pharmaceutical company of Boustead Holdings Berhad group of companies, and together with Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera, are the major shareholders of the company. – Bernama


Govt sets ceiling price for Sinovac, Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine

The government has set the maximum retail and wholesale prices for two COVID-19 vaccines, namely CoronaVac produced by Sinovac and Covilo produced by Sinopharm.

The maximum retail price for CoronaVac Suspension for Injection SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated with registration numbers MAL21036010ARZ and MAL21046125ACSZ is RM77, while the wholesale price is set at RM62 per dose.

For COVILO Suspension for Injection COVID-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated with registration number MAL21076098AZ, the maximum retail price is RM61 and the wholesale price is RM49 per dose.

In a joint statement today, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi said the ceiling price would come into effect on Jan 15 under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.

“The enforcement of this order will be carried out by the Health Ministry’s Pharmacy Enforcement Division,” they said.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is free under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) for residents, but they can also get the vaccine of their own choice for a fee at private hospitals and clinics that have been authorised by the MOH.

According to the joint statement, the government found that the prices of COVID-19 vaccines offered in the private sector were still high and fluctuating.

It said that the maximum price was based on the price of importing the vaccines along with their current market values.

“The maximum retail price would not include the service charge or charges on disposal items incurred during the administration of the vaccines,” the statement read.

The list and prices of the COVID-19 vaccines will be continuously reviewed and improved or eliminated based on an assessment of the current market situation and demand.

The joint statement said it was compulsory for private health facilities which have obtained approval from the government to offer private purchase vaccination services to display their prices.

“This will allow the public to compare prices and purchase the COVID-19 vaccines at affordable prices,” it said.

The ministers also stressed that strict measures will be taken against individuals or companies that fail to comply with the regulations set under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011.

Customers can channel their complaints to the Public Complaints Management System (SISPAA) of the Health Ministry at https://moh.spab.gov.my. – Bernama


COVID-19: 41% of Malaysia’s adult population received booster dose

A total of 237,703 individuals of the adult population in the country received the COVID-19 booster dose yesterday (Jan 17), bringing the cumulative number of booster doses administered to 9,609,454 or 41 per cent of the group as at 11.59 last night.

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH)’s COVIDNOW portal, a total of 22,906,072 or 97.8 per cent of the adult population were fully vaccinated while 23,185,749 individuals or 99 per cent of the group received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine injection.

For adolescents, aged 12 to 17, a total of 2,775,059 individuals or 88.2 per cent have completed their vaccination while 2,862,198 individuals or 91 per cent have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, daily statistics showed that 242,705 doses of vaccine were administered yesterday, with 1,912 as the first dose, 3,090 as the second dose, bringing the cumulative number of vaccines administered under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) to 61,135,763.

Meanwhile, according to the MOH’s GitHub portal, 16 COVID-19 deaths were reported yesterday with Selangor recording the highest number of deaths with five cases, followed by Terengganu with three cases and Negeri Sembilan and Penang each recording two cases. – Bernama