KUALA LUMPUR, August 25 — Malaysia should consider and allow the use of Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine for children aged between 12 and 17 as an option, a Selangor state representative said today.
Subang Jaya state assemblywoman Michelle Ng pointed out that countries such as China, Cambodia, and Indonesia have allowed the emergency use of Sinovac for kids.
“I believe the time will come when Selangor’s (Sinovac) vaccine supply will be needed to vaccinate 12- to 17-year-old children. With this in mind, it is best that the state government make immediate plans (to get the vaccine approved for use),” she said in her speech at the state legislative assembly sitting today.
Selangor previously announced its intention to utilise the state’s procured Sinovac vaccine supply for various use, including as booster shots and to inoculate children below the age of 18.
The Sarawak state government, meanwhile, is reportedly finalising its adolescent coronavirus vaccination programme for minors aged 12 to 17, state Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas said last Saturday.
According to figures from the state government, about 29 per cent of Covid-19 cases reported in Sarawak from August 1 to 12 were among those aged below 18.
Malaysia’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) has so far only approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in children aged 12 years and above.
This is in line with countries like the United States and the United Kingdom where only Pfizer is approved for children ages 12 to 17. The two-dose regime Pfizer vaccine would be given in the same amount as what is given to adults three weeks apart in the US.
The UK also only approved Pfizer jabs for children aged 12 to 17 years earlier this month, 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.
Former Vaccine Minister Khairy Jamaluddin previously announced that the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) will start giving vaccinations first to 12- to 17-year-olds with underlying medical conditions in September, followed by healthy adolescents in that age group from older to younger.
Separately, Ng also called for more affordable Covid-19 self-test kits, which currently cost largely between RM35 and RM40, deemed as too expensive and “defeats the purpose” of accessible testing across all communities.
“I hope the state government can pressure the Medical Device Authority and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry on two things: firstly, to set a reasonable price ceiling for self-test kits and secondly, to approve more test kits produced by other brands quickly to create a competitive market that can help drive costs down,” Ng said.
As of August 24, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has approved a total 12 saliva and nasal swab self-test kits for emergency use.