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Can You And Should You Get A Sinovac Booster Dose?

Sinovac Booster Dose : Can You Get It? Should You Take It?

Now that the Sinovac booster dose has been approved, can you get it?

If you can’t get it yet, should you WAIT to get a Sinovac booster dose instead of other vaccines?

Updated @ 2021-11-17 : Added Sinovac booster dose approval and updated advice on a Sinovac booster dose.

Updated @ 2021-11-12 : Added more information on Sinovac vaccine efficacy and advice on a Sinovac booster dose.
Originally published @ 2021-11-10

 

Can You Get The Sinovac Booster Dose?

Malaysia started the COVID-19 vaccine booster dose programme on 13 October 2021, targeting those who received the Pfizer vaccine, before being expanded on 22 October 2021 to those who received the Sinovac vaccine.

Since then, many people have been asking if they can get a booster dose of the Sinovac vaccine instead.

The updated answer is SOON, but not yet.

On 17 November 2021, the Malaysia Drug Control Authority (DCA) approved the Sinovac and AstraZeneca booster doses for homologous vaccination.

That means Sinovac and AstraZeneca booster doses will be given to those who earlier received Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines respectively.

However, this does NOT mean the Sinovac booster dose is immediately available.

The COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force – Booster (CITF-B) will be targeting specific groups to receive these booster doses, which will be detailed later.

Right now, the COVID-19 Booster Dose programme in Malaysia continues to use the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Even people vaccinated with Sinovac will receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose.

If you had earlier received the Sinovac vaccine, and are open to receive the Pfizer booster dose, I highly recommend you get yourself on the standby list ASAP.

If CITF-B eventually decides to give only homologous vaccinations for Sinovac, you will lose your chance to get the Pfizer booster dose.

My advice remains the same – don’t wait for the Sinovac booster dose. Get the Pfizer booster dose if it is offered to you.

It is FAR MORE EFFECTIVE, and gives you a big boost in protection, especially if you received the Sinovac vaccine earlier.

Read more : Malaysia’s COVID-19 Booster Dose Policy Explained!

 

Should You Get The Sinovac Booster Dose?

The Malaysia Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, mentioned earlier that people with severe allergies, or who have suffered an allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine earlier, may be offered a booster shot of the Sinovac or AstraZeneca vaccine instead.

Now that the Sinovac vaccine has been approved as a booster dose, should you WAIT to get it?

That very much depends on a number of factors.

Are You Allergic To The Pfizer Vaccine?

If you are allergic to the Pfizer vaccine, then you definitely cannot receive a booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

You will have to get a booster dose of other vaccine types – viral vector vaccines like AstraZeneca or Sputnik V, or inactivated virus vaccines like Sinovac or Sinopharm.

But with so many better vaccine options available out there, Sinovac CoronaVac should be your last choice, not your first.

Read more : Did FDA Panel Reject Pfizer Booster Dose Over Myocarditis?

Are There Better Options?

If you are given the option to switch to Pfizer or AstraZeneca, you should definitely opt for either one over the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine.

Of all the WHO approved vaccines, Sinovac CoronaVac is the least efficacious COVID-19 vaccine, offering just over 50% efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19.

And that was before it was tested against the highly-infectious Delta variant.

In June 2021, Chinese CDC deputy director Dr. Feng Zijian admitted that their inactivated virus vaccines are “less effective” against the Delta variant.

While Sinovac has tried to push their booster dose as a way to shore up the CoronaVac’s efficacy against the Delta variant, it would be foolish to assume that it offers anything more than a temporary boost in relatively ineffective antibodies.

Even China is moving to use mRNA booster doses for those who received Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, with their own mRNA vaccine called ARCoVAX entering mass production soon.

Read more : Are Chinese Vaccines The Most Effective Vs. Delta Variant?

Sinovac / Sinopharm Should Require Three Doses Minimum

On 12 October 2021, WHO experts recommended that those over 60 who received the Sinovac or Sinopharm’s vaccines should be given a third shot.

They notably refrained from calling it a booster dose, suggesting instead that they should be administered as three doses, instead of the recommended two doses, for a primary series vaccine.

This was precisely the same policy adopted by Singapore on 23 October 2021, when their Ministry of Health declared that three doses of the Sinovac vaccine will be REQUIRED for a person to be considered fully-vaccinated.

In other words – two doses isn’t enough to be considered fully-vaccinated for these inactivated virus vaccines.  They have to be taken as three doses MINIMUM.

Even Malaysia’s RECoVaM data show that the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine is comparatively weak, allowing significantly more breakthrough infections that result in ICU care and deaths.

If you still feel that you prefer to get three Sinovac vaccine doses, instead of using a different vaccine – that’s fine. It is better than not getting a booster shot at all.

The key thing is to GET PROTECTED against COVID-19, by getting fully-vaccinated. If that means three doses of Sinovac, so be it.

My advice remains the same as it did earlier this year. Don’t wait – get the first vaccine (or booster dose) you are offered!

Read more : Why COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Does NOT Matter!

 

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1.28 Million Sinovac Vaccine Doses Ready For Distribution!

1.28 million doses of Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine bottled by Pharmaniaga is now ready for distribution!

Here are the latest details…

 

1.28 Million Sinovac Vaccine Doses Ready For Distribution!

Finally, 73 days after Pharmaniaga received 200 litres of the bulk CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac, the 1.28 million doses they bottled are ready for distribution!

Each single-use vial was bottled in four batches over five days, under NPRA’s scrutiny at the Pharmaniaga LifeScience factory in Puchong, Selangor.

17 quality control tests were conducted after the bottling process for 14 hours a day, before these vaccine doses were approved.

As of yesterday, a total of 1,284,147 doses – enough for about 642,000 people – are ready to be distributed across Malaysia.

Pharmaniaga said that they have the capacity to bottle up to two million doses per month.

 

Pharmaniaga Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine : A Quick Primer!

Sinovac CoronaVac an inactivated virus vaccine made from actual SARS-CoV-2 virus grown in Vero cells, and killed using β-propiolactone.

Once injected into the body, the antigens on the inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus triggers the body’s immune system.

Pharmaniaga LifeScience imported 200 litres of the CoronaVac bulk vaccine, which arrived on 27 February 2021.

Once bottled, those 200 litres of bulk vaccine should produce over 300,000 CoronaVac doses – enough to vaccinate approximately 150,000 people.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin, said that the government is paying Sinovac less for the vaccine because bottling is done by Pharmaniaga.

However, he declined to disclose more information, so it is unknown how much the government is saving, once the costs of Pharmaniaga’s bottling and distribution are included.

Recommended : CoronaVac Vaccine By Sinovac : Your Questions Answered!

 

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Malaysia Approves Sinovac Vaccine Finished By Pharmaniaga!

Malaysia has conditionally approved the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine filled and finished by Pharmaniaga!

Find out this means for the COVID-19 vaccination program in Malaysia!

 

Malaysia Approves Sinovac Vaccine Finished By Pharmaniaga!

On 23 April 2021, the Malaysia Ministry of Health announced that the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine finished by Pharmaniaga LifeScience received conditional approval from the NPRA (National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency).

CoronaVac Suspension for Injection COVID-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated
Registrant : Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn. Bhd.
Manufacturer : Sinovac Life Sciences Co. Ltd., China

This conditional approval would allow the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine filled and finished by Pharmaniaga LifeScience to be used in the Malaysia COVID-19 vaccination program.

 

Pharmaniaga Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine : A Quick Primer!

Sinovac CoronaVac an inactivated virus vaccine made from actual SARS-CoV-2 virus grown in Vero cells, and killed using β-propiolactone.

Once injected into the body, the antigens on the inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus triggers the body’s immune system.

Pharmaniaga LifeScience imported 200 litres of the CoronaVac bulk vaccine, which arrived on 27 February 2021.

Once bottled, those 200 litres of bulk vaccine should produce over 300,000 CoronaVac doses – enough to vaccinate approximately 150,000 people.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin, said that the government is paying Sinovac less for the vaccine because bottling is done by Pharmaniaga.

However, he declined to disclose more information, so it is unknown how much the government is saving, once the costs of Pharmaniaga’s bottling and distribution are included.

Recommended : CoronaVac Vaccine By Sinovac : Your Questions Answered!

 

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Malaysia Approves AstraZeneca + Sinovac COVID Vaccines!

Malaysia has conditionally approved the AstraZeneca and Sinovac finished vaccines against COVID-19!

This does NOT include the bulk Sinovac vaccine that will undergo fill and finish by Pharmaniaga.

Find out this means for the COVID-19 vaccination program in Malaysia!

 

Malaysia Approves AstraZeneca + Sinovac COVID Vaccines!

On 2 March 2021, the Malaysia Ministry of Health announced that the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines against COVID-19 received conditional approval.

  1. AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Solution for Injection
    Registrant : AstraZeneca Sdn. Bhd.
    Manufacturer : Medimmune Pharma B.V., Netherlands
  2. Sinovac CoronaVac Suspension for Injection
    Registrant : Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn. Bhd.
    Manufacturer : Sinovac Life Sciences Co. Ltd., China

These conditional approvals would allow the AstraZeneca and Sinovac finished vaccines to be used in the Malaysia COVID-19 vaccination program.

However, please note that the conditional approval is only for the finished vaccine from Sinovac.

The NPRA is still evaluating the CoronaVac vaccine that is being filled and finished by Pharmaniaga LifeScience Sdn. Bhd.

Hence, the bulk CoronaVac vaccine that recently arrived in Malaysia has NOT been approved for use yet.

They also gave conditional approval to a second source of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. COMIRNATY Concentrate for Dispersion for Injection
    Registrant : Pfizer (M) Sdn. Bhd.
    Manufacturer #1 (drug product and final release) : Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium NV, Puurs, Belgium
    Manufacturer #2 (final release) : BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH, Mainz, Germany

The Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine had earlier been approved. This additional approval allows vaccine doses from the BioNTech manufacturing facility in Germany to be used in the Malaysia COVID-19 vaccination program.

The NPRA is still evaluating the Sputnik V vaccine, also known as Gam-COVID-Vac, from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute.

 

AstraZeneca + Sinovac Vaccines : A Quick Primer!

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, codenamed AZD1222, is a viral vector vaccine.

It uses a chimpanzee adenovirus – ChAdOx1 – which has been modified to prevent replication, to introduce a DNA sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

Once injected, the vaccine enters the cell and “teaches” it to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins and express them on its surface.

These spike proteins triggers the immune response to create antibodies that will protect you against the real SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, branded CoronaVac, is an inactivated virus vaccine.

It uses actual SARS-CoV-2 virus grown in Vero cells, and then killed using β-propiolactone.

Once injected into the body, the antigens on the inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus triggers the body’s immune system.

Recommended : CoronaVac Vaccine By Sinovac : Your Questions Answered!

 

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Sinovac Vaccine Arrives In Malaysia, But Not Approved Yet

The first batch of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine – CoronaVac – just arrived in Malaysia.

There was not much fanfare, because the Sinovac vaccine has NOT actually been approved for use in Malaysia.

 

Sinovac Vaccine Arrives In Malaysia!

The first batch of the Sinovac vaccine – CoronaVac – arrived at the KL International Airport aboard MH319 at 8:47 AM on 27 February 2021.

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Health obtained CoronaVac through Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn Bhd – an intermediary company.

Hence, the Sinovac vaccine arrived in the form of 200 litres of CoronaVac bulk vaccine, which would then have to be bottled by Pharmaniaga.

Once bottled, these 200 litres of bulk vaccine should produce over 300,000 CoronaVac doses – enough to vaccinate approximately 150,000 people.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin, said that the government is paying Sinovac less for the vaccine because bottling is done by Pharmaniaga.

However, he declined to disclose more information, so it is unknown how much the government is saving, once the costs of Pharmaniaga’s bottling and distribution are included.

 

Sinovac Vaccine Not Approved In Malaysia Just Yet

While the CoronaVac vaccine has arrived in Malaysia, we should point out that it has not been approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

Therefore, the CoronaVac vaccine will not be used just yet in the Malaysia COVID-19 vaccination program.

According to the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, this is because the CoronaVac vaccine has not been bottled.

One of the criteria for approval by the NPRA is the evaluation of the bottling process by Pharmaniaga. Until that happens, the CoronaVac vaccine cannot be approved for use in Malaysia.

It should be pointed out that China only just approved this Sinovac vaccine for general use on 6 February 2021.

 

Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine : A Quick Primer

Developed by Sinovac, CoronaVac is an inactivated virus vaccine – an older method of creating vaccines.

The SARS-CoV-2 viruses are cultured (grown) in Vero cells, and inactivated (killed) before being administered as a vaccine.

The CoronaVac vaccine only needs to be refrigerated at 2–8 °C (36–46 °F), which makes it easy to distribute.

This is a 2-dose vaccine, which the second dose delivered 14 days after the first.

Its Brazil clinical trial results showed that the CoronaVac vaccine was 50.4% effective in preventing COVID-19, just crossing the 50% mark for regulatory approval.

It was about 78% effective in preventing “mild to severe” COVID-19 disease, which is nevertheless good news.

Recommended : CoronaVac Vaccine By Sinovac : Your Questions Answered!

 

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