Health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has called on the public to get their second Covid-19 booster doses in light of the recent surge of Covid-19 cases in China.
“The Health Ministry (KKM) urges those who received their first booster doses more than six months ago should get a second booster and not wait for the bivalent vaccine.”
“This existing monovalent vaccine is still very effective in reducing serious symptoms and preventing death,” Dr Zaliha said in a statement.
She also revealed that the KKM’s records showed only 49.8% of Malaysians have received their first booster dose while 1.9% have received their second booster dose.
She then reminded the public to continue taking care of their health and their families by adhering to the recommendations and advice from the ministry.
Meanwhile, Dr Zaliha said that based on information reported by China to the World Health Organization, variants and subvariants found in China have also been detected in Malaysia.
The latest Covid-19 variant — a subvariant of Omicron named BF.7 — is believed to be driving the surge in infections in China.
“Referring to available information, the Covid-19 vaccine is effective in protecting from getting severe symptoms due to the Covid-19 virus infection and it should reduce hospital admissions,” she said.
Several measures taken to curb Covid-19 in the country
At the same time, Dr Zaliha said the ministry has taken several efforts in monitoring the increasing Covid-19 cases in China, as well as imposing restrictions that have been made by several other countries against travellers from China.
She said her ministry will improve the containment method of Covid-19 infection spread in the country as well as preparedness to deal with any possible increase in cases.
Last week, KKM announced that all travellers entering Malaysia will have to undergo a mandatory temperature screening to check for fever and Covid-19 symptoms.
As for those who have visited China within the last 14 days of their arrival, they would have to take the Antigen Rapid Test Kit (RTK-Antigen) test, and samples would be sent for genome testing if they were found positive for Covid-19.
This also applies to those who have close contact with individuals who have travelled to China within the last 14 days or exhibit influenza-like illnesses (ILI) or severe acute respiratory infection (SARI).