Authorities working hard to change holdouts' minds about vaccinating their children, says Dr Mah

SEREMBAN: With schools due to reopen soon, some parents are still against the idea of vaccinating their children against Covid-19, says Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon (pic).

He was hopeful they would change their minds and support the government's National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Adolescents.

"From the feedback I received, there are some parents who are still undecided on this but the number is small.

"In fact, I was told that some parents who were against it initially have since changed their minds after being given an explanation.

"So, we are keeping tabs on this and hope they will support the government's initiative," he said after visiting the Seremban City Council Hall vaccination centre (PPV) on Monday (Sept 27).

Dr Mah said this was expected because there will always be a small number of sceptics whenever a new initiative is launched.

He said the government, on its part, will continue with programmes to educate and create awareness of the importance of being vaccinated against Covid-19.

"We will do our best to encourage as many children as possible to be vaccinated,” he said.

He added that the authorities have also set up counselling booths at PPVs to help provide more information to those who were not yet ready to take the vaccine or who had additional queries.

Schools will reopen in stages in states under Phase Two, Three and Four of the National Recovery Plan from Oct 3.

Parents can, however, opt not to send their children to school, but they must give a letter to the school explaining their reasons.

Dr Mah said the vaccination programme has been running smoothly, with 33.3% of all children aged between 12 and 17 having received their first dose as of yesterday (Sept 26).

Of the number, 4.5% have also received their second dose

In Negri Sembilan, 24.1% in this age group have received their first shot and 4.7% have been fully vaccinated.

Dr Mah reiterated that students who have not been vaccinated will not be stopped from going back to school.

Asked if they might be isolated in separate classrooms, he said this was not the proper thing to do.

"We cannot discriminate against them. What is important is that we continue to encourage them to take the vaccine," he said.

On another matter, Dr Mah said the ministry has not received any reports of students suffering side effects after being vaccinated.

He said parents or guardians should quickly take their children for treatment if they fall ill after being vaccinated.

"If this happens, they will also have to update the information in the MySejahtera application.

"This is important so that we can continue with the programme and ensure its success," he added.

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