Booster doses increase 70 per cent level of immunity to Omicron variant infections –DG Dr. Noor Hisham


PUTRAJAYA JAN.21: A 20 per cent decrease in immunity occurred in individuals who had taken the complete two doses while for Sinovac vaccine recipients a 40 per cent decrease in immunity after three to five months of receiving a second dose, says the Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) in its report.

Director General of Health, Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said, various studies from countries like Israel, United Kingdom and Chile also found that there was a decrease in the level of neutralizing antibody to the COVID-19 virus after three to six months of receiving a complete primary dose.

Dr. Noor Hisham said, this causes the risk of getting COVID-19 infection to increase especially for the high-risk group.

“Accordingly, a booster dose or booster dose of COVID-19 should be given after a certain period of time to ensure that the acquired immunity remains at an optimum level.

“The Ministry of Health (MOH) strongly recommends the intake of booster doses to every eligible individual in an effort to prevent the recurrence of cases and hospital admissions so as not to burden the national health system,” Dr. Noor Hisham said in a statement here today.

The implementation of booster dosing had started nationwide since 13th Oct.2021 and as of 20th Jan.2022 a total of 10,235,759 or 43.7 per cent of the population aged 18 years and above or 44.7 per cent of the adult population who have received a complete dose have now received booster doses.

Dr. Noor Hisham added, among the benefits that can be obtained from receiving a booster dose include it prevents the recurrence of cases and hospital admissions so as not to burden the national health system; and protect the population from the threats of new variants including the Delta variant and the Omicron variant.

The Director General of Health also stressed that booster doses can increase levels of immunity to Omicron variant infections by up to 70 per cent compared to those who do not receive booster doses.

He added, as the risk of COVID-19 infection can be reduced with booster doses. MOH has also conducted a review of the quarantine period for travellers from abroad. Based on the risk assessment, the quarantine period of travellers who have taken booster doses has been reduced from seven (7) days to five (5) days.

“The priority of booster dose administration is for the high-risk and vulnerable groups such as frontline members (health and safety), seniors aged 60 and above, the disabled, as well as individuals with co-morbidities,” Dr. Noor Hisham said.

Meanwhile a study by the Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) also found that to date, the mortality rate among people aged 60 and above is high at 57.2 percent of the total age group. Based on those factors and the low probability of immunity due to age factors, co-morbidities, interval of duration of primary vaccine taken, decreased immunity etc. individuals aged 60 years and above are required to take booster doses.

For senior citizens aged 60 and above, walk-in vaccination services will be offered in the states of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur & Putrajaya, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Pulau Pinang and Sarawak involving the following Vaccination Centres (PPV).

The PPV offsite in these states will start from 24th January 2022.-Malaysia World News

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