Effectiveness of Covid-19 Vaccine as Booster and Third Dose

Most people who received the Covid-19 vaccine are already protected against serious complications caused by the coronavirus. But when its protection becomes less effective, a booster dose or third dose is given to eligible individuals who have completed their vaccination or second dose1

Differences between Booster and Third Dose2,3

Booster dose is administered to a fully vaccinated individual who has gotten sufficient protection earlier but the protection levels may have reduced over time. Malaysia has started giving out booster doses on 13th October 2021 to high risk individuals that had completed their vaccination at least 3 to 6 months ago.

Whereas a third-dose is an additional dose given to those who are immunocompromised as their body did not have sufficient immune response after receiving two doses of the vaccine. The third dose is the same type of vaccine given in the 1st and 2nd dose and will be administered at least 28 days after receiving the second dose.

Who are High Risk and Immunocompromised Individuals4?

Media Reports on Booster Dose

Malaysia’s Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin in October 2021, mix-and-match vaccines for boosters have been approved in Malaysia5 and Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty) was the first vaccine that has been given conditional approval as the booster shot.6 A heterologous vaccination study, to observe the effect of the mix and match vaccines, has also been conducted in Sarawak in November 2021.5  As of November 2021, Astrazeneca and Sinovac vaccines are then also given conditional approval as booster shots for those 18 years old and above who receive the same type of vaccine (homologous).7

Should I Get That Booster Shot?

Many might feel that there is no need for a booster shot. However, here are two aspects to consider for you to make a decision: 

  • Waning Effects Of Vaccines
    Recent health data released by the ministry of health showed that patients who have been double-vaccinated were among those who fell under category 4 and category 5 (the serious stages of Covid-19). This does not indicate the vaccines are ineffective, rather as explained by the minister of health – the effectiveness wanes over time. 8
  • Safety of Vaccines
    As millions of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in Malaysia, the safety of vaccines are well established. Serious side effects are rare, and minor side effects such as fever, headache, lethargy recover within a day.9
    In view of the above, if you do get an appointment notification in your MySejahtera, it is highly recommended to get your booster jab. In the meantime, we can do our part in preventing the spread by adhering to the SOPs.

  1. What are Booster Shots? Shishira Sreenivas. WebMD. (Web Assessed November 2021) Web link: https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/vaccine-booster-shots
  2. Perluasan Perlaksanaan Program PICK Dengan Pemberian Dos Tambahan Dan Dos Penggalak (Booster Dose). Health Minister, Khairi Jamaluddin. Ministry of Health Malaysia. (Web assessed November 2021). Web link: https://covid-19.moh.gov.my/semasa-kkm/2021/10/kenyataan-akhbar-ybmk-12102021-perluasan-perlaksanaan-pick-untuk-dos-tambahan-dan-dos-penggalak-booster-dose
  3. Covid-19 Boosters and Third Doses. UCONN Health. (Web Assessed November 2021) Web link: https://health.uconn.edu/coronavirus/covid-vaccine/covid-19-vaccine-third-dose-and-boosters/
  4. AZ, Sinovac vaccines being reviewed for booster shots, says Health DG. Ashley Tang. The Star. (Web Assessed November 2021) Web link: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/11/12/az-sinovac-vaccines-being-reviewed-for-booster-shots-says-health-dg
  5. Kenyataan Media KKM 21/10/2021 – PELAKSANAAN PEMBERIAN DOS PENGGALAK (BOOSTER DOSE). Health Minister, Khairi Jamaluddin. Ministry of Health Malaysia. (Web assessed November 2021). Web link: https://covid-19.moh.gov.my/semasa-kkm/2021/10/kenyataan-akhbar-ybmk-21102021-pelaksanaan-pemberian-dos-penggalak-booster-dose
  6. COVID-19 Vaccine: Malaysia begins administering booster shots for senior citizens and frontliners. Alexander Wong. Soyacincau. (Web Assessed November 2021) Web link: https://soyacincau.com/2021/10/14/covid-19-vaccine-malaysia-begins-booster-shots-for-senior-citizens-and-frontliners/oster shots for senior citizens and frontliners – SoyaCincau
  7. Sinovac, AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines given conditional approval for use as boosters. The Star. (Web assessed November 2021). Web link: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2021/11/17/sinovac-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccines-given-conditional-approval-for-use-as-boosters
  8. Get your booster shot, Khairy tells Sinovac recipients. New Strait Times. (Web accessed November 2021). Web link: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2021/11/747032/get-your-booster-shot-khairy-tells-sinovac-recipients
  9. 23,000 reports on adverse effects of vaccines received. Free Malaysia Today. (Web accessed November 2021). Web link: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2021/11/23/23000-reports-of-vaccine-adverse-effects-received/