Malaysia to offer Covid-19 booster shots to front-liners, elderly

Jabs to start once current Covid-19 vaccination exercise covers 80% of adults

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian government has decided to offer Covid-19 vaccine booster shots to front-liners and the elderly to boost their protection, said Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday.

The booster shots for high-risk groups such as front-liners, the immunocompromised and the elderly with comorbidities will begin once the Covid-19 immunisation exercise has covered 80 per cent of the adult population nationwide, he said.

As at yesterday, 78.2 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

"This third dose can increase the level of immunity in individuals who are at high-risk of getting infected with Covid-19, as immunity may decrease after a certain period following the second dose," said Mr Ismail.

He added that a panel of healthcare and medical experts are now developing guidelines on the implementation.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said yesterday the target was for the booster shots to be rolled out early next month and that it would be extended to other groups once those from the initial phases have received their third shot.

Mr Khairy, however, said the Health Ministry has not decided on whether to give the booster shot to all individuals, Bernama reported.

Malaysia reported 14,954 cases yesterday, the lowest daily figure since the end of July. It also reported 324 deaths, taking the total number to 23,067.

Meanwhile, on the political front, former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has not ruled out seeking re-election to Parliament within the next two years, he told Reuters, undeterred by a corruption conviction that would block him from running.

He is still a Member of Parliament, but the Constitution bars him from contesting elections unless he gets a pardon from the country's monarch.

But Mr Najib challenged his disqualification, saying: "It is subject to interpretation. It depends on interpretation in terms of the law, the Constitution and whatever happens in court proceedings." - THE STAR, THE STRAITS TIMES, REUTERS