This, however, does not mean that individuals do not need to obtain a booster dose, the Ministry of Health reiterated.
As previously announced by the Malaysian government, locals aged 18 and above who are vaccinated with Sinovac are to receive their third dose latest by 31 March 2022 - else they will lose their fully-vaccinated status on the MySejahtera application from 1 April 2022 onwards when the nation moves into endemic phase.
This, in fact, also applies to those who are aged 60 and older and vaccinated with other types of vaccines (i.e. Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Covishield, Novavax, or Sputnik V), as reminded by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on 30 March 2022 (Wednesday).
That said, the Ministry has revealed that individuals who lose their fully-vaccinated status "can still perform permitted activities" along with those who are fully-vaccinated (i.e. "boostered") such as dine-in at restaurants, entering shopping malls, workplaces, and places of worship - so long that they are fully-vaccinated under the primary vaccination regime (i.e. two doses of Sinovac).
This, however, requires business owners and employers to check and ensure that only customers, visitors, and employees who have at least completed the primary dose vaccination are allowed to enter the premises. With regard to where to obtain such information, the Ministry shared it can be found through the MySejahtera app, which as long as the individual has completed the regime, the vaccine information will remain and be reflected.
Further, this applies to travellers who are entering Malaysia.
MOH also reiterated that this move does not mean that the aforementioned group of individuals in Malaysia does not need to obtain a booster dose.
"Evaluation data conducted among vaccine recipients in Malaysia found that the level of protection against COVID-19 infection decreased by up to 20% for two doses of Pfizer vaccine, and 48% for two doses of Sinovac vaccine within three to five months after vaccination," the Ministry said. "Taking a booster dose will increase the level of antibodies in the body, which in turn can reduce the risk of severe symptoms due to COVID-19 infection".
As such, MOH advises and encourages individuals who have not received a booster dose to get it immediately.
Individuals can also do a self-check with the following criteria to be considered as fully-vaccinated under the primary regime:
- For vaccine types that require two doses of injection (i.e. Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca), the individual must have passed the 14th day from the date of injection of the second dose.
- For vaccine types that require only one dose of injection (i.e. Johnson & Johnson), the individual must have passed the 14th day from the date of injection.
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