MOH Not Approving Covid-19 Vaccines For Kids Under Five Yet

Khairy Jamaluddin also says the Technical Working Group will make recommendations soon on second booster shots for those aged under 60, likely a step-down approach to 50-year-olds first.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 – Children under the age of five years remain ineligible for vaccination against Covid in Malaysia as the Ministry of Health (MOH) continues to gather more data to ensure that the shots are safe and effective.

“On vaccinations for kids under five, the Technical Working Group (TWG) maintains that it remains inadvisable. 

“We’d like to wait for more data, especially on the safety of the vaccines, before we make any recommendations to vaccinate children under the age of five against Covid-19,” Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told reporters at a press conference in Parliament today.

Vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer and Moderna, have spent months testing their vaccines in different dosages and varying numbers of doses to balance Covid protection against potential side effects. 

Apart from these time-consuming studies, concerns for under-five vaccines also revolve around a small but increased risk of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, detected mostly in adolescent boys in ages 12 to 17.

After multiple delays, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finally authorised Pfizer’s three-dose vaccine series and Moderna’s two-dose vaccine series for children under the age of five years old last month.

Khairy said the TWG is also considering a fourth Covid vaccine dose for healthy adults aged 60 years and below, likely a step-down approach to expand to individuals in their 50s first.

“The TWG is still evaluating whether to recommend a second booster dose for individuals with no health issues aged 60 years and below. We will announce this within the next week or two once we review the information in greater detail,” Khairy said.

The MOH currently recommends a fourth Covid vaccine shot, or a second booster, for the elderly, adults who are immunocompromised, and frontline workers. Appointments for a second booster dose will be issued to adults with comorbidities beginning next week.

The ministry also recommends a third Covid vaccine shot or a booster dose for immunocompromised children and adolescents aged five to 17.

“The MOH would like to once again state that booster doses are not mandatory though they are highly recommended in light of a new Covid wave and as movements increase with the upcoming Hari Raya Aidiladha festivities,” Khairy said.

“We know that vaccines will not be able to break the chain of transmission but it can help prevent more severe symptoms and the worst outcome,” Khairy added.

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