KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old can register for Covid-19 vaccination, but the government has decided not to inoculate minors yet, the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) announced today.
CITF said although the MySejahtera system currently accepts vaccine registration from people under the age of 18, no vaccination appointments have been issued to this group yet.
“The MySejahtera system will continue to accept vaccine registration for teenagers so that it can be used in future when a decision is made on the matter,” CITF said in a statement.
The government’s Covid-19 vaccination task force also said the government has decided not to inoculate teenagers aged 17 and younger, including SPM students, to avoid the risk of inflammation of the heart, known as myocarditis and pericarditis.
According to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on June 23, more than a thousand reports of cases of inflammation of the heart — a rare occurrence among hundreds of millions of vaccine doses administered — have been filed following Covid-19 vaccination with mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) in the US since April this year.
Confirmed cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in the US following immunisation with mNRA shots occurred mostly in male adolescents and young adults aged 16 years or older, said the CDC. Most patients who received care responded well to treatment and can usually return to daily activities after improvement of symptoms.
“CDC continues to recommend Covid-19 vaccination for everyone 12 years of age and older, given the risk of Covid-19 illness and related, possibly severe complications,” said the CDC.
“The known and potential benefits of Covid-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis. Also, most patients with myocarditis and pericarditis who received care responded well to treatment and rest and quickly felt better.”
The Malaysian government, however, has taken a more conservative approach and will only open up Covid-19 vaccination to exam students who will turn 18 this year.
CITF is also expanding Covid-19 inoculation among teachers and school staff and administrators to prepare for the reopening of schools by September.
“At the same time, the MOH (Ministry of Health) is finalising clinical guidelines on giving the Pfizer vaccine to teenagers with chronic conditions and face high-risk of Covid-19 infection. CITF will make an announcement once the date of the vaccination programme for this group is finalised.”