KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) targets to give at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose to 60 per cent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 nationwide by November.
According to the newly established Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force-Adolescent (CITF-A), a special task force to manage the inoculation of teenagers, 80 per cent of adolescents are expected to be fully vaccinated with two doses — the Pfizer-BioNTech shot — before school reopens for the 2022 session.
“The Ministry of Health is offering Covid-19 vaccines to teenagers, prioritising those aged 16 and 17 years who will sit for public examinations and teenagers with comorbidities,” CITF-A said in a statement.
“This programme also targets students in the private education sector, teenagers in shelters and rehabilitation centres, as well as teenagers in the community like the homeless, refugees, and non-citizens.”
CITF-A, which is chaired by Deputy Health Minister I Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, plans to adopt three methods for adolescent vaccination.
Under the first method, CITF-A will reach out to schools or institutions on a scheduled basis. Vaccine administration will be carried out by the vaccine implementation team consisting of health care workers, private medical practitioners or medical non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Students from full or daily boarding schools who sit for major examinations will receive an appointment for the first dose at private clinics or nearby schools at their area of residence whereas the second dose will be given at the respective schools or the place where they received their first dose, if their schools are closed.
The second method focuses on adolescents with comorbidities, where they need to get vaccinated at hospitals or public health clinics that treat them.
In the third method, adolescents who are unable to attend their vaccination appointments with their parents or guardians will be given an appointment at a nearby private health clinic through the MySejahtera application.
CITF-A is comprises various stakeholder agencies such as MOH, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Ministry of Education (MOE), ProtectHealth Corporation, Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), Social Welfare Department, MARA Education Division, Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) Health Services, National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK), the Prisons Department, and the Immigration Department.
MOH has developed an institutional registration portal (Vaksin-Anak-Ku) that allows all schools, educational institutions, government and private rehabilitation centres to register their respective institutions for the adolescent coronavirus vaccination drive.
“At the same time, parents and guardians of teenagers are advised to register their children as dependents in the MySejahtera application,” CITF-A said.
“This process is to enable teenagers to obtain their MySejahtera digital vaccination certificates.”
It is to be noted that Sarawak’s adolescent Covid-19 vaccination drive, which started on September 8, aims to inoculate 76,400 teenagers aged 16 to 17, including a minority of 12- to 15-year-olds deemed to be high risk with comorbidities or immune system conditions.