JOHOR BARU, Oct 26 — An outspoken Johor DAP leader today said that more research and data is needed for the mix-and-match vaccine booster strategy, whereby the additional doses will speed up the containment of the country’s Covid-19 pandemic.
Johor DAP committee member Dr Boo Cheng Hau said European countries, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom had already approved various mixed-dose strategies to combat and contain new variants of the coronavirus.
The Opposition politician said if Malaysia did the same, this would allow it to better utilise its vaccine supplies.
“The Health Ministry is urged to announce the research data and findings on the benefits of heterologous (mixed vaccine) and homologous (same vaccine) booster strategies.
“So far, the Institute of Clinical Research (ICR) has not officially announced its peer-reviewed data on the matter,” said Dr Boo in a statement issued here today.
Dr Boo, who has consistently called for action on issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic, said the Health Ministry has only approved the mix-and-match regime that involves a third dose of Comirnaty (Pfizer) after two doses of CoronaVac (Sinovac).
However, he noted that there has been no specific data released on the efficacy and safety profile of the said regime.
“Data on other combinations of vaccines should be released too, including AstraZeneca followed by Pfizer or Sinovac, and Sinovac followed by AstraZeneca,” he said.
Dr Boo, a general medical practitioner of more than 30 years, said Malaysia must start to plan its strategy for the deployment of multivalent vaccines, which are expected to become available next year.
“There are already a few teams researching on multivalent vaccines which the Health Ministry should seriously be looking into it, including getting locally based data on their efficacy at an early stage in order to make early procurements and implementation of vaccination programmes by next year,” he said, adding that it should be done before Malaysia officially enters the endemic phase.
Last Thursday, it was reported that the Health Ministry will be extending the Comirnaty (Pfizer-BionTech) Covid-19 vaccine booster dose to individuals who have completed their vaccination with the Sinovac vaccine after at least three months.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the dispensing of the heterologous booster dose is through the off-label manner and would be given to eligible recipients of the Sinovac vaccine starting last week in phases nationwide.