At least 20% of Sinovac recipients reject Pfizer booster shots

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At least 20% of Sinovac recipients reject Pfizer booster shots

A worrying number of Sinovac vaccine recipients are purportedly refusing to be administered with Pfizer booster shots, threatening to derail the government’s effort to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

General practitioner Dr Boo Cheng Hau, whose clinic in Skudai, Johor, is among the selected private health facilities serving as vaccination centres for the government’s National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, noted that at least 20% of his patients have rejected their booster shots.

It is even more concerning seeing that these individuals are considered to be in the high-risk categories, the group that is currently being prioritised by Putrajaya.

This puts them at a higher potential risk of being infected with the virus, particularly with vaccines that have shown a waning efficacy over time.

Boo, who is also Johor DAP committee member, said his clinic has begun offering the Pfizer Comirnaty booster shots since last week.

“Some elderly who received Sinovac for their first two doses have no issues with the vaccine but they are now afraid to try a different brand. They refused to be jabbed and some didn’t even turn up for their appointments.

“In some cases, when our nurses contacted them to remind them of their appointments, they expressed concern. We cannot force them to take the shots,” he told The Vibes today.

Boo said he has also received similar feedback from other doctors who have patients refusing heterologous shots, and that the figure could potentially be higher than the average 20% in his clinic.

He said this development is particularly concerning with Malaysia still recording a high number of daily infections and with most economy sectors having resumed full operations.

“Of course this is worrying. However, as patients, they have the right to choose their vaccines.

“Now, their only option is to go to other private clinics that offer Sinovac with certain charges, which I don’t think is fair to them.”

When contacted, a spokesman for the Health Ministry (MoH) said they will look into the matter tomorrow.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on October 21 announced that individuals who are fully vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine at least three months ago will be eligible for a Pfizer booster shot, with the first phase given to frontliners, senior citizens and those with comorbidity.

Earlier in a Facebook post, Boo warned that the high default rate for Pfizer booster shots would affect the country’s effort to fight Covid-19 and tamper the window period to achieve herd immunity.

To convince those who are hesitant, the general practitioner said the government needs to make public more clinical data on heterologous (mix-and-match) prime boost.

He added that the MoH must also respect the rights of those who prefer Sinovac third doses, especially seeing that clinical data on homologous (same brand) booster shots have also proven to increase the antibody level.

“After 28 days of a third Sinovac dose among those aged 18 to 59, the neutralising antibody level will increase by threefold to fivefold. For those aged 60 and above, the level increases by up to sevenfold after a week.

“In general, medical experts have agreed that both heterologous and homologous prime boosts could increase the neutralising antibody level, even though heterologous shots could be more effective,” he said. TV

At least 20% of Sinovac recipients reject Pfizer booster shots

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At least 20% of Sinovac recipients reject Pfizer booster shots

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