Pharmaniaga has recently revealed that it already offered the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to the government. The Shah Alam-based pharmaceutical group is the sole holder of the fill-and-finish manufacturing rights for the vaccine in Malaysia.
The pharmaceutical group said that they are in the final stages of discussion with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), with approval being expected soon. Pharmaniaga pointed out that the company have distributed more than 20 million doses to the Ministry of Health and the private sector, leading to 11 million Sinovac recipients in the country who will need booster shots.
Meanwhile, the company’s group managing director Zulkarnain Md Eusope also said that Sinovac has already been approved as a booster in China, Turkey, Chile, Indonesia, and Cambodia while six other countries are currently waiting for approval from their respective authorities. This particular remark is a response to general practitioner Dr Boo Cheng Hau, whose private health facilities have reported that at least 20% of Sinovac recipients reject Pfizer booster shots as they prefer the same vaccine for their additional dose.
Those who initially received Sinovac are currently being given Pfizer boosters as the US vaccine is the only brand so far that’s been given approval for such a use. The expected nod for Sinovac as a booster comes as no surprise, since Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced last week that both Sinovac and AstraZeneca booster shots will be made available for those allergic to mRNA vaccines.
The government has already announced in Bajet 2022 that they will be procuring 88 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be used as boosters, enough to cover 140% of the population. Those who received Sinovac might particularly need the third dose, as a study in Thailand revealed that antibodies produced by the brand’s COVID-19 jab would reduce by 50% every 40 days.