Covid-19 Watch: Sarawak aims to get 70% of eligible children jabbed under PICKids by April

KUCHING: Sarawak aims to administer the first dose of Pfizer vaccine to 70% of children aged five to 11 within two months, following the launch of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids).

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said 272,500 children or 9.6% of the state's population were eligible for vaccination under PICKids.

The immunisation programme kicked off in Sarawak on Thursday (Feb 3) with 30 immunocompromised children selected to be vaccinated at Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) here.

"Vaccination for children with comorbidities will continue at public and private hospitals throughout Sarawak," Uggah told reporters after launching the state-level PICKids at SGH.

He said schoolgoing children would start receiving the vaccine at their respective schools or designated vaccination centres from Saturday (Feb 5).

"The vaccination will be done at the schools by appointment.

"We are coordinating with the state Education Department to plan how to reach out to parents," he said, adding that appointments were also given through MySejahtera for those who had registered on the app.

As of Sunday (Jan 30), about 12% of children in the state had been registered for PICKids through MySejahtera.

Uggah also said a survey conducted by the state Health Department from Jan 26 to 31 indicated support among parents for children to get vaccinated, with 59.7% of the 40,000 respondents strongly agreeing.

He said 25.3% were unsure while 15% did not agree.

"The main reasons given by those who were unsure or did not agree were concerns about complications and the safety of the vaccine as well as wanting to choose the type of vaccine," he said.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian said the Pfizer vaccine was able to protect children from multisystem inflammatory syndrome and long-term effects of Covid-19 infection.

"One of the reasons why we want to vaccinate children is because multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which not only targets the heart but the whole body, can cause children to be severely affected by Covid-19.

"So I urge parents to help us get their children vaccinated," he said.

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