Dosing interval for AZ reduced to 9 weeks

Those who participated in the AZ 1st round in May will be getting notifications of appointment very soon


THE 12-week dosing interval for AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine has been reduced to nine weeks, said Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar.

He said the decision was made based on the recommendation of the technical working committee under the Special Committee of Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access (JKJAV) coupled with the AZ vaccine contribution made by the Japanese government yesterday.

“I would like to announce that based on the recommendations of the Technical Working Committee under JKJAV, and with the contribution by the Japanese government, we will be reducing the dosing interval for AZ from 12 weeks to nine weeks.

“So, everyone who has been given the AZ vaccine will get their second dose in nine weeks. Those who participated in the AZ first round in May will be getting notifications of appointment very soon,” said Khairy.

Malaysia received approximately one million doses of AZ vaccine manufactured in Japan yesterday as a token of longstanding friendship between both countries.

The vaccine was presented by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Malaysia Hiroshi Oka and was received by Khairy as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

The vaccines departed from Narita Airport, Japan, at 10.20am yesterday on Japan Airlines flight 723.

“These vaccines will be utilised as quickly as possible and it is testament to the long relationship and friendship between the governments of Malaysia and Japan, the people of Malaysia and Japan, that this contribution was made possible.

“I would like to Ambassador Oka for his diligence and efficient and most kind effort in facilitating delivery of these vaccines,” said the minister, adding that the vaccines will contribute towards higher vaccination rate in the country this month.

Meanwhile, Oka expressed his deepest gratitude and respect to Malaysia’s government officials and frontliners on behalf of the entire Japanese communities in the country for their dedication in keeping the communities safe from the pandemic.

He also extended a message from Japan’s Prime Minister (PM) Yoshihide Suga who reaffirmed that the vaccines serve as a token of the deep friendship shared between both countries.

“Next year marks the 65th anniversary of the Japan-Malaysia diplomatic relations, as well as the 40th anniversary of the ‘Look East Policy’.

“Hand in hand with Malaysia, a strategic partner of Japan, let us work together to overcome the challenges of Covid-19 pandemic,” said Suga.

Oka said Japan has provided various cooperation to Malaysia, including emergency assistance to those in need and the grant cooperation for providing advanced medical equipment since the beginning of the pandemic.

Japan also echoed PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s view on the importance of ensuring fair access to vaccines, he said.

He added that the Japanese government hosted the virtual Covax Advanced Market Commitment Summit in June to ensure access to safe, effective and quality assured vaccines where it managed to raise over US$8.6 billion (RM36 billion) needed to vaccinate at least 30% of the population in developing countries by year-end.

Japan had also pledged an additional US$800 million to Covax, bringing its total contribution to US$1 billion.

“Vaccine cooperation is based on the solid trust between Japan and Malaysia. As PM Suga stated in his message, next year coincides with the 65th anniversary of the Japan-Malaysia diplomatic relations, as well as the 40th anniversary of the Look East Policy.

“The special bond of trust between the two countries will remain unchanged even in the plight of Covid-19. I express my full solidarity with the Malaysian people and let Japan and Malaysia join hands to win the fight against Covid-19,” said Oka.