ProtectHealth Corporation has clarified that all booster shots under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK), including Sinovac boosters, are given for free at vaccination centres in private health facilities and off-site PPVs.
However, only those who are unable to take other brands of vaccines will be offered Sinovac, as the jabs are currently available in limited amounts. If you have an allergy to other vaccines and wish to take Sinovac for your booster, ProtectHealth advises you to call the PPV ahead of your appointment to inform them.
Boosters are currently being offered for free to qualified individuals on MySejahtera. Those who are not in a priority group but still wish to get a booster can get a chance by signing up to be on a waiting list at nearby private PPVs. Whether or not you are called from the waiting list depends on how many people don’t show up for their appointment which, according to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, is currently at 40%.
Khairy had clarified earlier this month that the vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech is the preferred booster shot for all vaccine recipients regardless of which brand they received for their primary series, with AstraZeneca as an alternative for Pfizer recipients, as studies found that mixing vaccines can create a better immune response.
Sinovac boosters are also available in the private market, though this route obviously won’t be cheap as there is currently no ceiling price for the vaccine. If you wish to do so, you might want to reconsider as real-world studies have shown that the Sinovac jab’s efficacy wanes significantly faster than other brands.
With the Omicron variant spreading globally, and with one case already detected in Malaysia, it is highly recommended to get the booster to increase protection against severe symptoms. In fact, the Health Ministry will soon announce that boosters will be mandatory for certain groups in order to be considered fully vaccinated.