400,000 children sign up to get vaccinated

PETALING JAYA: The fight against Omicron has gained traction with more than 400,000 children having signed up for a Covid-19 vaccination programme.

This came as the number of cases surged to over 5,000 yesterday from below 3,000.

The public need to work together to fight the Covid-19 pandemic with community empowerment amid the beginning of the Omicron wave in the country, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

In his Twitter account, he said no lockdown or heavy compounds would be imposed, instead the people should focus on their own behaviour.

“Wear masks esp in crowded areas. #TRIIS. Get boosted. Support #PICKids,” he tweeted.

Meanwhile, slightly more than 10% of the estimated four million children in the country had registered to get vaccinated when the national children vaccination programme kicked off on Feb 3, according to Deputy Health Minister I Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.

“A total of 484,639 children, between five and below 12, had registered through the MySejahtera app.

“Through this method, parents and guardians will be able to select the appropriate time and location of the centre where the vaccine will be administered,” he told a press conference yesterday.

He said the first batch of the Pfizer vaccines will arrive today and they will be sent to 52 ultra-low freezer storage centres nationwide.

Vaccination, he said, would begin at hospitals in the Klang Valley involving children with health issues.

For children with no health issues, he said, they would be given the jab at the integrated vaccine administering centres or PPV.

He said the programme, known as PICKids, would be expanded nationwide and include the use of schools, private clinics, health clinics and outreach programmes.

“There are four million children between five and 12 years old who are eligible for the vaccine,” he said.

“Getting vaccinated is highly encouraged to ensure that the health of our children is protected.”

Bookings for appointments through MySejahtera will start on Jan 31. Under the programme, children will be given a vaccine formulation developed by Pfizer through a two-dose regime in an eight-week interval.

Each dose of 0.2ml contains 10 micrograms of mRNA vaccine, which is one-third of that given to adults.

Meanwhile, Dr Noor Azmi, who heads PICKids, said the use of the special vaccine formulation is safe for children.

“The vaccine was administered to 8.6 million children in the United States where incidences of side effects were low and no death was reported,” he said.

He added that the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency had approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine while the Pediatric College of the Academy of Medicine Malaysia had voiced its support for children in the country to get vaccinated.

On a separate matter, Dr Noor Azmi said his ministry would work with the Welfare Department and other agencies to ensure that homeless children are also vaccinated.

He advised parents and guardians to update their MySejahtera app to book a time slot and centre for their children once it is expanded to other states.

On Wednesday, Khairy assured, in a tweet, that children unlike adults would not be subjected to restrictions if they are not vaccinated.The vaccine programme for children is not compulsory.

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