The government has given the greenlight for heterologous COVID-19 supplementary shots, which allows individuals to boost their immunity with a different vaccine from their initial jabs. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says that studies have been conducted to ensure the safety of vaccine mixing.
The minister added that the mix and match approach should be implemented this month along with booster doses. Those already vaccinated but are categorised in the high risk groups, such as frontliners, those with comorbidities, and the elderly, are set to receive an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccine mixing has been in the works for months, with studies by the University of Oxford reporting that combos would induce a stronger immune response and better protection. The study revealed that AstraZeneca/Pfizer pair emerged as the best combination, and trials in South Korea confirmed the findings.
South Korea and Germany are one of the first to actually execute the move, with the latter opting for the Pfizer/Moderna combination. Since then, several countries have done similar tactics or are planning to, including Turkey, the US, and the UK.
According to Khairy, both JKJAV and the Institute of Medical Research have given the approval to mix vaccine doses. That being said, he did not mention whether individuals will get to choose which booster to get, or what combinations are approved by the ministry.
As the country moves towards an endemic phase, precautions are being taken to ensure maximum protection among Malaysians, including the booster shots as well as teen vaccinations. With Malaysia nearing its 90% adult vaccination target to reopen its borders, health officials warn individuals to keep cautious and not let their guards down.