by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by TMR FILE
THE Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) has urged for the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) to begin planning for the Covid-19 vaccine’s booster dose.
APHM president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh said the new variants’ fast pace of infection would affect Malaysia’s frontliners as the first batch of fully vaccinated health workers are reaching six months in September.
“APHM would like to propose to JKJAV that it would be important to start planning booster Covid-19 vaccine doses for public and private healthcare workers as soon as we reach a reasonable percentile of the fully vaccinated population.
“We are worried with the fast pace of new variants within the region and elsewhere in the world, our healthcare workers may be susceptible to be infected with Covid-19 and suffer serious complications in the event the initial doses do not protect anymore,” he said in a statement today.
Kuljit said it would be prudent to study the efficacy and potential immunity outcomes of booster doses for Covid-19 vaccines as well as the effect of using heterologous boosters, which may be effective against different mutations.
“Our success in managing the pandemic relies upon the safety and health of the healthcare frontliners.
“We are happy to find a suitable methodology of carrying out booster Covid-19 vaccination for healthcare workers within the private hospitals for our staff and doctors including general practitioners,” he said.
Kuljit added that the government should initiate discussions with the private healthcare stakeholders to work out mechanisms in getting the booster doses rolled out once formal approvals are attained from the regulatory authorities.
“The country has almost vaccinated half of the population with 41.6% fully vaccinated as per August 25, 2021 reported by JKJAV.
“It is estimated in another two to three months there will be close to 80% or more of the population who will be completely vaccinated.
“The economic recovery would very much depend on the careful steps that we take now to prevent further waves and lockdowns,” he said.
Once the healthcare workers are sufficiently protected after the proposed booster dose of vaccine, it will be time for the early batches of fully vaccinated public, particularly the vulnerable to receive their additional doses, Kuljit added.
“However, this will be based on the acceptability of published evidence on booster doses as many countries have already commenced this exercise,” he said.