PETALING JAYA: A total of 484,639 children aged five to 12 have so far registered under the national children's vaccination programme which begins in a week's time, says Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
"The first batch of vaccines will arrive on Jan 28 (Friday) where they will be sent to 52 ultra-low freezer storage centres nationwide.
"The arrival of the Pfizer vaccines for children will see the start of vaccines being administered this Feb 3," the Deputy Health Minister I told reporters at a press conference on Thursday (Jan 27).
Vaccination of children, he added, will start in the Klang Valley in hospitals for children who have health issues.
Children with no health issues will be given the vaccine at the integrated vaccination centres (PPV), he said.
He said the programme will be expanded gradually to provide vaccines to children via schools, private clinics, health clinics and outreach programmes.
"There are an estimated four million children aged between five and 12 who are eligible to get the vaccine.
"Getting vaccinated is highly encouraged to ensure that the health of our children is protected," he added.
Malaysia’s Covid-19 vaccination programme for children aged five to 12 will begin on Feb 3 and parents can begin booking appointment slots via MySejahtera from Monday (Jan 31).
The process will be in phases starting with the Klang Valley first utilising a special vaccine formulation for children.
The vaccine will be administered over two doses 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.
The vaccine programme is not compulsory and would prioritise children with underlying conditions such as chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, immunosuppression, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and nerve disease.
On Wednesday (Jan 26), Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin gave his assurance in a tweet that children, unlike adults, will not be subjected to restrictions if they are not vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Azmi, who heads the immunisation programme for children, assured parents and guardians that the special Pfizer vaccine formulation is safe.
"The vaccine was administered to about 8.6 million children in the United States where incidences of side effects were low with no deaths reported," he said.
He noted that the Academy of Medicine Malaysia's Paediatric College supported the vaccination of children with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) approving the use of the Pfizer vaccine.
On a separate matter, Dr Noor Azmi said his ministry will work with the Welfare Department and other agencies to ensure that homeless children are also vaccinated.
"We want to make sure that no child is left out with regard to vaccination," he said.
He advised parents and guardians to update their MySejahtera app to fix an appropriate time and centre for their children to get vaccinated.