KUALA LUMPUR, August 13 — Malaysia will offer Covid-19 jabs to all children aged between 12 and 17 beginning next month following revised recommendations to the Special Committee On Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV), Khairy Jamaluddin said.
The vaccine minister, in a tweet today, said the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) will start giving vaccinations first to 12- to 17-year-olds with underlying medical conditions, followed by healthy adolescents in that age group from older to younger, even as schools are due to reopen next month.
“An announcement will be made by JKJAV on how Covid-19 vaccinations for adolescents will be implemented as per Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s circular and the latest updated clinical guidelines,” Khairy said.
In a circular dated August 12, Dr Noor Hisham said vaccinations for targeted groups of 12 to 17-year-olds will begin on September 15, depending on the country’s Covid-19 vaccine supply.
He did not specify which vaccine brand will be used for this group. The Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, and Sinovac vaccines are currently being rolled out under PICK.
The UK also only approved Pfizer jabs for children aged 12 to 17 years from August 4, reversing advice given just two weeks earlier when it said that Covid-19 vaccines should not routinely be given to children unless they were over 12 and clinically extremely vulnerable or living with someone at risk.
Britain’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said all older teenagers aged between 16 and 17 should now be offered their first dose of the Pfizer jab, while advice on when to offer the second dose would come later.
In the same statement, the JCVI said children aged 12 to 15 with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of severe Covid-19 should be offered two doses of Pfizer vaccination with an interval of eight weeks between doses.
In late March, Pfizer said Phase Three clinical trial data showed that its Covid-19 vaccine was 100 per cent effective in preventing the illness in children 12 to 15 years old.
Dr Noor Hisham said prior to being vaccinated, children with underlying medical conditions will need to be assessed by a medical officer to determine the time, location (either in hospitals or community vaccination centres), and type of Covid-19 vaccine that they should receive.
This assessment applies to those with severe allergies to medication, immunocompromised individuals, and those on anticoagulant treatment or who have medical conditions with a bleeding tendency. The examination can be done at all public or private health facilities.
Following the health assessment, the medical officer will then issue an evaluation slip on whether it is safe and suitable for the individual to be vaccinated.
The inoculation programme for 12-17 year olds will be carried out at select vaccination centres (PPVs) — namely, special PPVs (at hospitals and medical institutes), health clinic PPVs or via outreach programmes such as immunisation in schools.