Sinovac booster shots available at private hospitals, clinics soon

by NURUL SUHAIDI / pic by AFP

PHARMANIAGA Bhd will begin supplying Sinovac Covid-19 booster vaccines at designated private hospitals and clinics soon.

This comes after the conditional approval by the Drug Control Authority on the booster shot announced by Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

As outlined by the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force-Booster, the booster dose has been approved for individuals aged 18 and above who have received the same type of vaccine (homologous) and will be administered three to six months after the second dose.

According to Pharmaniaga group MD Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope, several provinces and towns in China have begun distributing booster shots to patients who received their first two shots at least six months ago.

“In China, the booster shot rollout comes after close to 80% of the population has been vaccinated, to give the optimum protection against the virus and new variants.

“China’s research also shows that a booster shot given six to 12 months following the second dose resulted in a significant increase in immune response, with geometric mean titers (GMTs) rising to around 140 in adults and even higher in older people over 60 years old,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The GMT of six months after the third dose is higher than the peak of the second dose.

Furthermore, the research found that six months after the booster dosage, antibody persistence was up to 20-fold higher than six months after the second dose, indicating a longer lifetime of protection from Covid-19’s new variants.

“Sinovac vaccine is safe since it is made with an inactivated virus, which is a well-established technique that has been used in many types of vaccinations for over 40 years, including those for polio, Hepatitis A and rabies,” he said.

Zulkarnain added that the vaccine will be accessible at a few private hospitals and clinics as an option for people who want it as a booster dose.

“We hope with this effort, we can see our country revive its economy and help Malaysians weather the Covid-19 pandemic, thus ensuring the wellbeing of the people, business continuity and most importantly saving lives,” he concluded.

This list of selected hospitals will be shared on Pharmaniaga’s official website.

Meanwhile, Sinovac Biotech Ltd yesterday announced that its CoronaVac vaccine is safe in healthy children and adolescents aged three to 17.

This was based on studies conducted in Chile, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Africa involving 2,140 participants in the age range, including 684 participants in a safety subgroup. Further studies will extend the age group to six months.

Data from the safety subgroup revealed that adverse reactions after the second dose were much lower than after the first dose, including pain at the injection site, headache and fever.

“The primary results from the global, multi-centre Phase 3 clinical trial show that the overall incidence of adverse reactions is similar to Phase 1 or 2 clinical trials conducted on adolescents and children in China.

“Further results of this study will provide clinical evidence for countries to approve the use of CoronaVac in children and adolescents from six months to 17 years of age,” the company said in a separate statement.

Since September 2021, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Colombia, Cambodia and Indonesia have approved the use of CoronaVac in children and adolescents.

By the end of October, China had administered over 110 million doses of the vaccine to children under the age of 18.