Malaysian Medical Experts Say That Mixing COVID Vaccines For Booster Doses Are Not Harmful

Malaysian Medical Experts Say That Mixing COVID Vaccines For Booster Doses Are Not Harmful

Two years into the Covid-19 pandemic and with 78 percent of the overall population properly vaccinated, there was still some uncertainty about booster doses when they were initially introduced last October.


Malaysian Medical Experts Say That Mixing COVID Vaccines For Booster Doses Are Not Harmful 

Two years into the Covid-19 pandemic and with 78 percent of the overall population properly vaccinated, there was still some uncertainty about booster doses when they were initially introduced last October.

Numerous folks who had appointments did not show up.

Many were fearful about combining vaccinations, despite medical professionals’ assurances that there is no reason to be suspicious, particularly for individuals who had received Sinovac doses.

They claim that there is little data to demonstrate that combining vaccines is harmful, with the current guideline of two doses of the Sinovac vaccine followed by a Pfizer booster dose being the most feasible choice for protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Homologous booster doses are those that include the same vaccine as the initial vaccination (two Pfizer shots followed by another Pfizer booster jab, for example), while heterologous or “mix and match" booster doses contain a different vaccine (two Sinovac doses followed by a Pfizer booster dose, for example).

Dr Helmy Haja Mydin, a respiratory specialist, said that research done in Europe and published in the scientific journal Nature found that people who received mixed vaccinations were 68% less likely to acquire symptomatic infections than those who received homologous boosters.

Dr Helmy said that it is critical to continue educating the public in order to relieve their anxieties since we may be on the verge of another pandemic.

Repeated messages should be sent addressing doubts, and it is worth noting the adverse reactions are not higher when vaccines are mixed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director Hans Kluge said there could be half a million deaths in Europe by the first quarter of this year if they did not return to the way they were by wearing masks and increasing vaccine uptake," he added.

Source - CreakyJoints

Booster doses were delivered nationally beginning October 13 to individuals who were completely vaccinated and to elderly residents aged 60 and over and frontline workers who finished vaccination after six months.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he was aware of foreign research that revealed that two doses of Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine followed by a booster dose from Pfizer-BioNTech resulted in a poorer immune response to the Omicron variant than to other variants.

He was asked whether recipients of the Sinovac vaccination who had the Pfizer booster dose in Malaysia may need a fourth dose in the future, to which he responded that the topic was still under review.

Khairy said that the Health Ministry’s technical team would provide suggestions to the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) after conducting its own studies but added that it was still too early to draw any definite conclusions.

According to Reuters, the Sinovac two-dose regimen, combined with the Pfizer booster dose, provided an antibody response comparable to that of a two-dose mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna.

Researchers from Yale University, the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Health, and other institutions completed the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Specialist in public health medicine and professor of epidemiology at the University of Malaya’s Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. Dr Sanjay Rampal concurred with Dr Helmy that the opposition to heterologous jabs is unfounded.

Those who have gotten two previous Sinovac shots should be encouraged to get a Pfizer booster. However, there is resistance from certain parts of the community that still only prefer Sinovac, a likely result of either trusting the reported effects of Sinovac or distrusting Pfizer.

Grassroots leaders have to be engaged to view the evidence objectively and promote better vaccines. A lot of Sinovac vaccines have also been purchased. A moratorium on further purchases may be indicated pending more complete evidence-based reports," he said.

Dr Nirmala Bhoo Pathy, a specialist in public health medicine and an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Malaya’s Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, concurred as well.

She said that the Health Ministry had advised Pfizer booster doses, with Sinovac being used exclusively as a substitute for individuals who are unable to get the Pfizer vaccination due to medical reasons.

She said that current information shows booster doses may still help guard against the Omicron variant.

To date, there has been no evidence of serious adverse events from populations who received heterologous (mixed) vaccines from other parts of the world.

So, this should serve as a reassurance that it’s okay to receive Sino-Sino-Pfizer," she said.

However, older Malaysians’ initial hesitation in getting booster doses seems to have been overcome by younger Malaysians eager for their booster doses.

Long lineups accumulated over the weekend at various malls in the Klang Valley where booster injections were being administered.

For walk-in booster doses, large crowds congregated at Kelana Jaya’s Paradigm Mall, Kuala Lumpur’s iHeal Medical Centre, and Subang Parade PPV.

This happened as a consequence of Putrajaya reducing the gap time for all recipients of the Covid-19 vaccination to three months.

Coupled with recent floods in Kelantan, Pahang, Johor, Negeri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur, and Selangor, Malaysians are opting to safeguard themselves.

As the country reaches the endemic phase and international borders reopen to foreign travellers, the necessity for vaccination becomes even more critical as more severe coronavirus variants emerge.

In the end, everything we do is to mitigate risk. Wearing masks, avoiding crowded spaces and getting vaccinated are not guarantees to prevent contracting the virus," said Dr Helmy.

What we cannot argue with is the fact that the pandemic is deadly to those who cannot mount an appropriate immune response.

As of December 31, 2021, Malaysia has recorded 64 cases of the Omicron variant.

Source – The Star

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