Free vaccine offer for kids but only until May 15

PUTRAJAYA: Parents of unvaccinated children aged five to 12 will have to pay for their children’s jabs if they intend to get their children vaccinated with their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine after May 15, says Khairy Jamaluddin.

The Health Minister said the National Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids) ends on May 15 and the government cannot afford to extend the deadline due to the expiry date of the vaccine stock.

“We will set aside a supply of vaccines for children who are turning five this year.

“There will also be vaccine kept after the deadline for children who were infected with Covid-19 who will have to wait a month before they are able to get their first dose.

“But for the rest, May 15 is the deadline. We cannot afford to extend the deadline because this has to do with the expiry date of the vaccine, the delivery schedule from the manufacturer and also our plans to procure more antiviral drugs.

“After May 15 when PICKids end, children have the option to get their vaccines by paying for them, it would not be free anymore. The only type of vaccine available under the paid programme is Sinovac.

“Pfizer vaccines will only be given through PICKids and this will no longer be administered after May 15 to those who have yet to receive their first dose,” said Khairy at a press conference at the ministry yesterday.

Khairy expressed disappointment that only 42% of the country’s children population has been vaccinated, despite efforts to promote the programme through the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force for Children (CITF-C).

“The task force has done its work well to hold campaigns and set up PPV (vaccination centres) at schools. Unfortunately, a majority of parents still did not allow their children to be vaccinated. I anticipate only 45% of our children will be jabbed.

“But we have two more weeks left before the end of the programme and I really hope parents will take this opportunity to vaccinate their children,” said Khairy.

Khairy said between October 2021 and April this year, 245 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) were reported due to Covid-19 infections.

“Two days ago, we also received news of an 11-year-old child who died after suffering from MIS-C as a result of a Covid-19 infection. The child was unvaccinated.

“This incident should encourage parents to get the Covid-19 vaccine for their children,” he said.

Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh expressed concern over the low rate of vaccination among children despite the government’s effort to get parents to protect their children.

“It is worrying that only 42% of children are vaccinated as some suffer from severe symptoms when infected by the virus.

“The government has provided enough safeguards and parents should step up effort to get their children vaccinated,” he said when contacted yesterday.

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