KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has set May 15 as the last day for first doses under the paediatric Covid-19 vaccination programme (PICKids) to avoid wasting children’s vaccines.
Deputy Health Minister I Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said after May 15, the special children’s formulation of Pfizer-BioNTech’s shot will not be offered at any public or private health care facilities, while the Sinovac vaccine can only be obtained for children under the private rollout in private facilities.
Parents can register their child on the MySejahtera app latest by May 8 to get vaccination appointments before May 15.
Children born in 2017 who have not yet turned five on May 15, however, will be able to get their coronavirus vaccine by registering on MySejahtera.
The deputy minister highlighted the declining trend in children’s Covid-19 vaccination amid poor demand. As of April 12, a total of 1,371,120 children aged five to 11 years have received at least one dose, including 195,865 who received their second shot.
Administration of first doses in the paediatric programme for under-12 kids averaged at 4,500 daily since the past seven days.
“Low demand for vaccination can lead to high vaccine wastage,” Dr Noor Azmi said in a statement yesterday.
“To avoid wasting the children’s Comirnaty vaccine that cannot be used six months after manufacturing, we need to set the final date for the first dose.”
The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF-C) has also decided to remove the clause from the Covid-19 vaccination consent form for children and teens aged under 18 that states: “I am responsible for potential risks for the child over my decision or action because the benefits of vaccination outweigh the side effects.”
“The removal of this clause is meant to avoid confusion and to express current practice where MOH has never abandoned and is always prepared to provide appropriate health assistance for any side effects related to vaccination,” Dr Noor Azmi said.
State health departments have launched a “Gerak Gempur” operation ahead of the end of first doses in PICKids. Parents who registered their child on MySejahtera but who has not received the vaccine yet will be contacted by health workers – whether by phone, social media, or house visits – to offer their child the shot.
Parents who agree to have their child inoculated will receive appointments before May 15.
CodeBlue reported last month that Malaysia may be forced to discard 3.3 million unused doses of Pfizer’s specially formulated Covid-19 vaccine for children, half the government’s purchase of 6.6 million doses, amid parents’ reluctance to inoculate their kids.
Assuming that deliveries for March 3, April 4, and April 11 arrived as scheduled, Malaysia would have received 3,894,000 doses of Pfizer’s children’s vaccine to date.
However, only 1,604,135 doses have been administered in the paediatric programme overall as of April 13 (including an unknown number of Sinovac shots), or 41 per cent of stock received.