KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — Since last week, long queues and crowds have been seen at various vaccination centres in the Klang Valley as people were hoping to get their booster shots even though they did not have appointments.

In response to this surge of walk-ins, ProtectHealth Corporation Sdn Bhd (ProtectHealth) is encouraging people to call and be put on a waitlist instead of physically heading to vaccination centres (PPVs).

Malay Mail was told that with immediate effect, walk-ins will no longer be allowed at off-site PPVs.

(Note: Off-site PPVs are those at shopping malls, community halls, etc.)

This is not just to avoid disappointments but to prevent large gatherings which are against Covid-19 SOPs as these places simply could not accommodate social distancing.

It is understood that various PPVs are given a certain number of doses for walk-ins every day.

“We’ve seen a lot of crowds at off-site PPVs under ProtectHealth after the announcement of a shortened vaccine interval to three months. We have communicated to our private medical practitioners (PMPs) managing the off-site PPV or outside private medical facilities with suggestions to improve crowd control,” said ProtectHealth chief executive officer Datuk Anas Alam Faizli.

“For your information, in principle, those with appointments must be prioritised. We allowed walk-ins initially for registrations as a backup list.”

He said those who do not have appointments can register via email or phone private PPVs as listed on the ProtectHealth website.

He explained that this is why the contact information of PPVs are shared on ProtectHealth’s website, and that ProtectHealth is working closely with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and will be opening up more PPVs to provide appointments and maximise vaccinations.

“We strongly advise members of the public to go to our website at www.protecthealth.com.my to find their preferred PPVs at https://vaksincovid.protecthealth.com.my/find and register on the waitlist, in order for them to get their booster doses,” Anas added.

Malaysia has set a three-month interval period for Covid-19 booster shots for Pfizer and AstraZeneca (AZ) recipients, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced last week.

He said that appointments for the booster doses will be decided based on certain criteria, such as age de-escalation and health status.

He said that preliminary studies involving 21 million booster doses conducted in the United Kingdom have shown very convincing safety data.

Prior to this, Sinovac was the only Covid-19 vaccine approved for a three-month interval period for booster jabs.

“So in our efforts to give out appointments, we will use a priority list which will prioritise those who are elderly and also those who have chronic diseases. The Ministry of Health (MoH) expects that a huge number of the adults in Malaysia who are eligible to receive their booster doses, will receive their booster shots in January and February.