Recommendations on mixing Covid-19 vaccine brands, third jab to be known only next week, Khairy tells Parliament

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Minister Khairy Jamaluddin added that any recommendation on the need for another booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will also be known then. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Minister Khairy Jamaluddin added that any recommendation on the need for another booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will also be known then. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — The Institute of Medical Research (IMR) will present its findings on the feasibility of heterologous vaccinations, or the use of different Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers for each dose, to the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Supply (JKJAV) next week.

Minister Khairy Jamaluddin added that any recommendation on the need for another booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will also be known then.

“For now we are still waiting for recommendations from the group of experts headed by Dr Kalaiairasu from the IMR next week, where they will give their views concerning the need of whether we need booster doses or not,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat this afternoon.

“They will also present their views on heterologous vaccines, which is giving different vaccines for the second shot from the original vaccine.

“Some countries are doing heterologous vaccinations due to reasons of supply constraint, where they have to mix the vaccines, so we will receive recommendations based on real world and clinical data,” he added.

Khairy is the science, technology and innovation minister. He is also the coordinating minister for the National Immunisation Programme (NIP).

Dr Kalaiarasu M. Peariasamy is the head of IMR.

Khairy said he also expects to be briefed next week about the use of the heterologous method as a booster shot.

“We are expected to get their recommendation on whether those fully vaccinated with their second dose can receive a third booster shot using another vaccine,” he told the Lower House today during his winding-up speech as the NIP coordinating minister.

Khairy said the IMR are in the midst of conducting an antibody immune surveillance programme to establish the efficacy of administered vaccines and the level of reaction from the general public.

He said a total of RM15 million has been allocated by the government for the research which he said has a monitoring period of up to two years.

“This programme is important for us to determine the levels of antibodies and neutralising antibodies among the vaccine recipients in Malaysia and this can be found out through several means.

“One is finding determining the level of seroconversion antibodies that increases and neutralises the SARS-CoV-2 virus at eight different points of time across two years after the first dose.

“The second is determining the level of reaction from the T-cell receptors and salivary antibodies towards SARS-CoV-2 at three different points in time across three months among the general public who have received all types of vaccines and to project the Covid-19 infection rate after vaccination,” he said.

The Dewan Rakyat adjourned for the day after his briefing. It will resume tomorrow with Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz explaining the initiatives undertaken by his ministry during the Emergency.

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