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Second booster under consideration, says minister

Izah Azahari

A deliberation is being carried out over the offering of the second booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to high-risk individuals, such as cancer patients, said Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at the daily press conference yesterday, in response to the question raised on a recent publication that indicated immunity from the vaccine against the Omicron variant wanes over time.

“There are currently no plans to administer the fourth dose to the public,” he said. “The matter is still being looked into as the study in question was published recently.”

It is likely that the vaccine will be treated like the flu shot and be administered to the public annually, he shared.

Meanwhile, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the Ministry of Health Dr Ang Swee Hui debunked claims that dizziness is a symptom of long COVID.

“Long COVID has an array of symptoms. Recovered patients may experience headache, brain fog, rapid heart rate, exhaustion and breathing difficulty,” he said. However, he added, it is not a pressing issue in the Sultanate due to high vaccination rate, given that studies have found the vaccine can lessen the chances of patients developing long COVID.

Dr Ang assured the public that the MoH is monitoring the situation closely, and would address the issue should it become prevalent in the population.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at the press conference. PHOTO: JAMES KON