KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Recipients of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine aged 18 and above, as well as all vaccine recipients aged 60 and above, have been given an extension to get their booster shots before their “fully vaccinated” status lapses.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin made the announcement today, saying the date has been extended to March 31, from the previously set date of February 28.

“Starting April 1, the fully vaccinated status will be changed to not complete, if they still have not taken a booster dose,” he said during a press conference live-streamed online today.

Previously, on December 16, Khairy announced that full vaccination privileges will be withdrawn from Sinovac vaccine recipients, as well as those aged 60 and above, if they do not obtain a booster dose by February 28.

He said the decision was made after considering the arrival of the Omicron Covid-19 variant as well as guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), and that studies had indicated a reduced vaccine efficacy rate against Omicron.

Initially, those who were initially inoculated with Sinovac were asked to get booster doses of a different make, as Sinovac was reportedly not as effective against Omicron.

However, earlier this month, the government allowed Sinovac recipients to book a Sinovac booster, citing data that showed a high number of Sinovac recipients were hesitant to receive vaccines from other makers.