Khairy Targets Teen Vaccination This Month After Enough Adults Jabbed

About 84 per cent of school teachers and 69 per cent of school support staff have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Khairy Jamaluddin targets vaccinating adolescents against Covid-19 this month upon sufficient vaccine coverage of the adult population.

The health minister said coronavirus vaccination of 12- to 17-year-olds would be prioritised for those with underlying medical conditions and begin with 16- to 17-year-olds, followed by older to younger, based on Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s earlier circular on vaccination for teenagers.

“We are just waiting to execute vaccination for adolescents because we want to prioritise adult vaccination first,” Khairy said in a press conference today.

“Once that’s reached an adequate level, then we will commence vaccinations for teenagers, based on the priority groups that have been identified under the circular issued by the director-general. I hope that we can start doing that by sometime this month, based on vaccine supply.”

As of yesterday, about 64 per cent of Malaysia’s adult population has been fully vaccinated, although vaccine coverage ranges between states from 94 per cent in Labuan to 40 per cent in Sabah.

Malaysia’s National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for use in children aged 12 years and above.

Countries like the United States and the United Kingdom have approved the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 12 to 17.

“On paediatric vaccinations, those under the age of 12 years old, there has been no approval for paediatric vaccinations yet in Malaysia or anywhere else. They’re still under review by the regulatory agencies,” Khairy said.

Although MOH hasn’t decided on vaccines for those aged below 12 yet, Khairy highlighted the possibility of giving Covid-19 vaccines to these children once there is sufficient safety data.

“Once there is enough data to support that it is safe for us to give it to children, then we will take that to the vaccination committee for consideration and for us to decide,” he said.

“However, I would like to inform you that in my negotiations with Pfizer, Pfizer has informed us that they may be coming up with a specific vaccine that will be used for children.”

Khairy added that the Pfizer vaccine for children will have different dosage levels than the present vaccine given to adults and adolescents. 

“So we are still in negotiations with Pfizer, trying to get the requisite clinical data from Pfizer, to see that the vaccine is safe, and to see that the vaccine is efficacious.”

Furthermore, the newly appointed health minister also assured parents that the government is doing everything that is possible to make schools, especially primary schools, a safer place as there is no plan to vaccinate children under 12 years old in the near future.

“In lieu of the fact that we cannot give vaccinations to those who are under 12, we are doing our best to make sure that teachers are vaccinated, those working in schools — the clerical staff, the canteen staff, the janitorial staff, the security guards, as well as the bus drivers — are vaccinated, so that their environment is vaccinated.” 

Khairy said that from a total of 412,000 teachers in the country, 96.5 per cent have received at least the first dose of vaccine, while 83.5 per cent have been inoculated completely. 

He added that 84.4 per cent of support staff in schools have received at least one dose, whereas 68.8 per cent have been fully vaccinated.

The Ministry of Education announced last month that the schools will reopen in stages from October 3.

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