This article first appeared on Free Malaysia Today.
- The Health Ministry is currently encouraging those who are at high risk to be given these booster shots.
- Most cases of deaths and patients in intensive care units (ICUs) involve the elderly or those who have pre-existing health conditions.
Sarawakians Will Be First To Get 3rd Dose Of Covid-19 Vaccine
Sarawak will be the first state to administer a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine next month. Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said they are now in the process of preparing the clinical guidelines before implementing the programme for the third dose.
Among the guidelines being studied are the types of vaccine, whether to administer the same vaccine or mix and match with those that are acceptable. “Sarawak will be one of the first states to start the booster programme because it was one of the first states to complete the vaccination exercise,” Khairy said at a press conference after meeting with Sarawak government officials in Kuching today.
Sarawak has fully vaccinated 64.9% of its population. It was the first state to roll out vaccinations. Khairy said the health ministry is only encouraging those who are at high risk to be given these booster shots.
“If we look at other countries, this is the norm, where only senior citizens and those with serious comorbidities are given a third shot,” adding that other countries have yet to give booster shots to their general population.
“We are not ruling out the possibility that those who are healthy and aged below 65 would be given booster shots later. “But our focus right now is on high-risk groups. Right now, we need to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”
Khairy said most cases of deaths and patients in intensive care units (ICUs) involve the elderly or those who have pre-existing health conditions.“There is no point using our resources on those who may not need it right now. So we must focus on those who need it now,” he said.
On another matter, Khairy said positive results from RTK-antigen and self-test kits are sufficient for a quarantine order to be immediately issued to Covid-19 patients in Sarawak. He said patients do not have to undergo a confirmation test with the polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kit.
“This is to isolate positive cases as fast as possible. We will isolate the patient and close contacts, such as family members. They can be issued a home surveillance order.”
Khairy said community awareness is important to curb infections while the government takes steps to enable virtual Covid-19 assessments to be carried out in Sarawak. Health authorities will also report any breaches in the home surveillance order to the police, he added.