KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — The Health Ministry will use Pfizer vaccines as booster doses for those over the age of 60 years’ old and were fully vaccinated with the Sinovac version, said Khairy Jamaluddin.

The health minister said the programme would begin tomorrow and that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved of the so-called “Mix and Match” approach to vaccination in order to generate stronger immune response.

He added that those who qualify for the booster doses would be notified via the MySejahtera application as well as SMS.

Khairy added that the booster dose was also completely voluntary.

He said the distribution of the said booster dose for the elderly is based on the suggestion by The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts which is the principal advisory group to WHO on matters relating to vaccines and immunisation

“The distribution of this booster dose in a heterologous manner is via off-label usage and was made as a branch of a sub-group study under the real world evaluation of the Covid-19 vaccination and adverse effects research after vaccination. That is for all recipients of the booster dose,” Khairy added.

He added that the booster dose will be free of charge under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme and will be administered by private general practitioners under ProtectHealth Sdn Bhd, an incorporated entity formed under the MOH to manage private healthcare centres participation in the immunisation programme.

“For individuals who do not have MySejahtera, the appointment method to get the booster shot will be improved from time to time and not too long more, there may be a feature to make appointments via a system that is being developed by the MOH,” Khairy said.

Khairy said that for those wanting to perform the Muslim minor pilgrimage of umrah and not being able to do so after the Saudi Arabia government excluded the vaccine from its list, a new feature will be introduced under MySejahtera whereby the prospective pilgrims can apply to be given an additional vaccine dose.

He said this feature would probably be ready by next week.

“Only for those who are going to countries which require the additional doses. This booster dose is only limited to the groups I mentioned earlier; frontliners, those above 60 etc.

“Except those who want to go for their ‘umrah’ for example. For ‘umrah’, Saudi Arabia has indeed mandated that.

“In such a situation, we will allow and we will develop a new feature in MySejahtera soonest. I have informed Tabung Haji that this feature in MySejahtera would be able to be used soonest,” he added.