Get your booster shots, PM tells 7mil who missed out

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob today advised the seven million Malaysians who have yet to receive their booster shot against Covid-19 to do so immediately following the rise in the number of new cases.

He said although the booster dose is not mandatory, it is still vital not only in view of the uptrend in new cases, but also to help fight new variants of the virus, especially the Omicron BA.5 variant.

“It is not mandatory, but I would like to advise those who have yet to take the booster dose to immediately take it to protect themselves from infection. If they are having the symptoms, go see a doctor,” he said.

Ismail, who is also the Bera MP, was speaking to reporters after the Korban Perdana programme and witnessing the sacrificial rites in conjunction with Aidiladha at Darul Fikri Mosque in Bera.

Asked if there were plans to reopen large-scale vaccination centres to facilitate those who have yet to take the booster dose, he said it is up to the health ministry.

Ismail also said the government has no plan to close the economic sectors despite the increase in the number of new cases.

“Life will go on as usual, but we need to take proactive measures to protect ourselves and our families, including taking the booster dose,” he said. – FMT


Almost 1.3 million children in Malaysia fully vaccinated

A total of 1,299,348 children aged five to 11, or 36.6 per cent of the child population in the country have been fully vaccinated under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids), as of yesterday.

According to the COVIDNOW portal, a total of 1,737,987 children, or 49 per cent of the group received at least one dose of the vaccine.

For adolescents aged 12 to 17, a total of 2,911,081 individuals, or 93.6 per cent of the group received two doses of vaccine, while 3,001,413 or 96.5 per cent of them received at least one dose of the vaccine.

A total of 16,129,557 individuals or 68.6 per cent of the adult population in the country have taken their booster dose, while 23,004,677 or 97.8 per cent have completed two doses and 23,282,208 or 99 per cent have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Yesterday, a total of 6,772 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were administered with 538 as the first doses, 5,016 as second doses, and 1,218 booster doses, bringing the cumulative number of vaccine doses dispensed under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) to 71,151,473.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry’s GitHub portal reported a total of 2,093 new COVID-19 positive cases yesterday while one death each was recorded in Selangor, Penang, and Kedah. – Bernama


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


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


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


CanSino’s COVID-19 vaccine approved as booster shot

CanSino’s single-dose Convidecia vaccine has obtained conditional approval as a booster shot from Malaysia’s Drug Control Authority (DCA), which is under the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

Solution Group Bhd, via subsidiary Solution Biologics Sdn Bhd, said the DCA has consented to  Convidecia being used as a booster. Convidecia is an adenovirus type-5 vector-based vaccine.

The approval “allows” the CanSino vaccine to be used on those aged 18 and above, three to six months after their first dose of the CanSino vaccine, a press statement from the group said.

Deputy group managing director Datuk Mohd Nazlee Kamal said studies showed that Convidecia’s single-dose vaccine is effective as a booster against the spread of COVID-19 variants. It demonstrated an increase of at least eight times higher neutralising antibody levels, six months after receiving the first dose.

“With this approval, we hope that it will help to increase the number of booster doses administered within the nation to stem the spread,” he said.

The group is also working towards getting NPRA approval for Convidecia to be used as a booster for other primary vaccine recipients such as CoronoVac, which is also known as Sinovac.

Solution Biologics delivered 3.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the Ministry of Health in December 2021. Local production from its fill-and-finish facility is expected to start soon. – Bernama


45.1% f Malaysia’s adult population given booster dose

A total of 10,561,588 individuals or 45.1 per cent of the adults in the country have received the COVID-19 booster dose as of yesterday.

According to the Health Ministry’s COVIDNOW portal, of the total, 53,210 booster doses were administered yesterday.

Meanwhile, a total of 22,915,270 individuals or 97.9 per cent of the adult population have completed their vaccination while 23,192,788 individuals or 99.1 per cent of the group have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

For adolescents aged 12 to 17 years, a total of 2,779,919 individuals or 88.3 per cent have completed their vaccination while 2,863,961 individuals or 91 per cent have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The daily statistics also showed that a total of 154,906 doses of vaccine were administered yesterday which included 1,019 as the first dose and 677 as second dose, bringing the cumulative number of vaccine doses administered under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) to 62,109,995 doses.

Meanwhile, according to the MOH’s Github portal, 14 COVID-19 deaths were recorded yesterday with Johor, Kedah, Perak, Selangor and Terengganu recording two cases each and one case each in Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Pahang and Melaka. – Bernama