KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has set up a Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force for children vaccination called CITF-C, after the Drug Control Authority (DCA) today conditionally approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for the inoculation of children aged five to 11.
Deputy Health Minister I Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali will chair the CITF-C, in addition to CITF-A for adolescents. Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin is chair for CITF-B for Covid-19 booster shots.
In a press conference in Parliament today, Khairy said details on the rollout of the children’s coronavirus vaccination programme will be announced soon after discussions with Pfizer on the latter’s vaccine delivery schedule.
“We may have the vaccination (for five to 11 year olds) in schools. We will soon announce when this vaccination programme will be rolled out to children aged five to 11,” Khairy said.
The DCA, under the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA), earlier today granted conditional approval for Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty 10 micrograms (mcg) Concentrate for Dispersion for Injection, which will be given to five to 11-year-olds, and a new 30 mcg dose of Comirnaty (Tris/Sucrose) formulation that will be given to adolescents aged 12 and above.
Additionally, the DCA also approved the use of the CanSino Covid-19 vaccine as a booster dose for people aged 18 and above. The booster dose for CanSino vaccine can be administered three to six months after the primary dose is completed. CanSino is a single dose vaccine.
To date, Khairy said over 30 per cent of adults in Malaysia have received a booster dose, with 52 per cent of the elderly aged 60 and older also receiving a Covid-19 booster jab.
He said the MOH intends to push the booster dose rate for senior citizens aged 60 and above to at least 80 per cent within the next month by prioritising states with an elderly booster coverage of less than 50 per cent such as Pahang, Terengganu, Perlis, Kelantan, and Sabah.
“We have identified the states that are lagging behind so we will give priority to states that are behind in giving booster doses to the elderly.
“The state with the highest [elderly] booster dose coverage is Sarawak at 73 per cent, followed by Melaka (68 per cent), Klang Valley, and Negeri Sembilan.
“The states that we will focus on are the ones with an elderly booster coverage of less than 50 per cent such as Pahang (46 per cent), Terengganu (37 per cent), Perlis (37 per cent), Kelantan (31 per cent), and Sabah (26 per cent).
“We’ve had discussions with these states to administer more booster doses to the elderly. The priority for these states with less than 50 per cent coverage is to convince and bring the elderly out for their booster shots,” Khairy said.
According to an unreleased study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the weighted infection rate for those who received a Covid-19 booster dose is very low compared to individuals without a booster dose.
Khairy said the study showed that the weighted infection rate for two Sinovac Covid-19 doses was 2,088 per 100,000 population. However, for Sinovac primary series recipients who received a Pfizer booster shot, the weighted infection rate is 500 per 100,000 — which is a “significant drop”, Khairy said.
“This data will be announced by Dr Kalaiarasu Peariasamy, director of the Institute for Clinical Research, once the study is finalised but at the moment, we can see that the effects of the Covid-19 booster dose is very good and encouraging,” Khairy said.
Separately, Khairy announced an expansion to the Klang Valley’s booster administration capacity by introducing four integrated vaccination centres (PPVs).
“To increase the capacity of administering boosters in the Klang Valley, four integrated PPVs with much larger capacities were identified and will begin operation from January 15, 2022.
“We will issue booster appointments for the following PPVs and this will help to increase the amount of booster doses administered in January, especially in the Klang Valley. We will look at the demand in other major cities. If there is a need, we may open up other integrated PPVs in these cities,” Khairy said.