Vaccination for kids aged five to 12 to begin on Feb 3

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination programme for children aged five to 12 will begin on Feb 3, says the Health Ministry.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (pic) said parents can book appointment slots via MySejahtera beginning Jan 31 and the process will be in phases starting with the Klang Valley.

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 is one-third of what is given to adults.

“Based on current data, the eight-week interval will produce a stronger immunity response and has higher efficiency.

“The interval 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 yesterday.

Khairy said the vaccination programme for children will be launched on Feb 3 at Hospital Tunku Azizah in Kuala Lumpur.

He said the ministry will announce soon on how parents can book vaccination appointments for their children.

Khairy said the vaccine programme for five to 12-year-olds is 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.

On another matter, Khairy said investigations on the fake vaccination certificates have revealed that the cases were linked to paid vaccinations under the Private Purchase Vaccination.

“As per stipulated procedure, all vaccination processes carried out by Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme (PICK) and Private Purchase must be reported to the ministry through the MyVAS system for the purpose of record and issuance of vaccination certificates,” he said.

Khairy added that the private medical practitioners involved in the case had given fake vaccination reports to the ministry.

He added that the dealers of the vaccines involved under the private purchase vaccination, Sinopharm and Sinovac, should tighten their standard operating procedures to avoid similar cases.

“The ministry would also be doing random surveillance at clinics that give out vaccines to the public,” he said, adding that the ministry is giving full cooperation to the police on its ongoing investigations.

Meanwhile, Khairy said there is no need to close all boarding schools even after the emergence of 27 new Covid-19 clusters this year coming from these institutions.

“We have vaccinated 90% of our teenagers to date.

“Covid-19 infections are going to happen, this is something that we cannot avoid.

“Majority of the cases at the boarding schools are either mild or asymptomatic infections, and the positive ones can be isolated.

“So I see that there is no need to impose a blanket ruling and close all boarding schools.

“I think that is a backward move,” he said.

Khairy said from the first epidemiology week of 2022 up to Jan 19, a total of 52 Covid-19 clusters involving the education sector had emerged.

Some 30 clusters (57.7%) involve secondary schools, of which 27 of them are boarding schools.

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