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Two million in Malaysia may lose vaccinated status without booster

THE STAR/ANN – Some two million recipients of the Covid-19 vaccine by Sinovac are set to lose their fully vaccinated status if they do not receive their boosters by April 1 said Malaysian Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

“Based on the latest data, about 2.09 million recipients of the Sinovac vaccine for their primary series have yet to get their booster shots.

“They will stand to lose their fully vaccinated status when the deadline ends,” the health minister told a press conference in Parliament yesterday.

The deadline for adult primary recipients of CoronaVac – the vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech – is March 31, after it was extended from February 28.

Khairy also said that those who had yet to get their Sinovac booster would be deemed “not fully vaccinated” by Singapore.

A healthcare worker in Malaysia preparing a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. PHOTO: BERNAMA

“Based on my discussion with the Singapore Health Minister, he said the country would also consider those Sinovac recipients who are not boosted as not fully vaccinated.

“So, if you want to enjoy a Singapore holiday, you know what to do. It is best to get your booster shot,” he added.

Asked if Malaysia will follow Singapore in removing the mask mandate when outdoors, Khairy said the wearing of face masks would remain mandatory here. However, he noted that current standard operating procedure (SOP) did allow for certain exemptions.

“Our mask mandate will still remain. But maybe some are not really clear that our SOP states that it is not mandatory in certain situations,” he said.

The minister cited several exceptions, among them when an individual is not around another, is at home with family, in a hotel room or a personal workspace. “You are also allowed to remove your mask in your own vehicle. Other situations when masks are allowed to be removed include during sports and recreational activities, stage performances and dining.

“Those with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy or autism, and those with breathing difficulties are also exempted from wearing masks,” said Khairy.

Yesterday, Singapore announced the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, among which is that masks are not compulsory outdoors, while remaining mandatory indoors.