KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination programme for children aged five to 12 will begin on Feb 3, the Health Ministry said.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pic) said parents can book appointment slots via Sejahtera beginning Jan 31 and the process will be in phases starting with the Klang Valley first.
Khairy said the programme will utilise a special vaccine formulation for children, which is by Pfizer, and it will be a two-dose regime with an eight-week interval.
Each dose will be 0.2mL and contains 10 micrograms of mRNA vaccine, which was one-third of what was given to adults.
"Based on current data, the eight-week interval will produce a stronger immunity response and has higher efficiency.
"The interval length is able to reduce the risk of myocarditis and this is recommended by world health bodies including the United States, Canada and Australia," said Khairy, at a press conference held at Parliament on Thursday (Jan 20).
Khairy said the vaccination programme for children would be launched on Feb 3 at Hospital Tunku Azizah in Kuala Lumpur.
He said the ministry would announce soon on how parents can book vaccination appointments for their children.
Khairy said the vaccine programme for five to 11-year-olds was not compulsory and would also prioritise children with underlying conditions such as chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, immunosuppression, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and nerve disease.
"This is because this group of children are more at risk of getting severe Covid-19, including being put in intensive care units (ICU)," said Khairy.
He added that the government has procured more than six million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for children and they are expected to arrive in Malaysia starting from Jan 31.
"In terms of supply, it is adequate. But we will not make vaccines for children mandatory.
"Our approach will be more of education where we convince parents to see the benefits of vaccination for children," said Khairy.