Sunday, March 7, 2021

Children among 30% of population who won’t get vaccine

No clinical trials have been done on children, says minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

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Children will not be vaccinated against Covid-19, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said today in announcing the purchase of more vaccines from global pharmaceutical companies.

Khairy said with the new supplies, the government would surpass its target to achieve 70% herd immunity in the population.

He said children would be among the remaining 30% of the population who will not be administered the vaccine.

“I would like to explain that most of the clinical tests were done only on adults. There have been no clinical trials on children for the vaccine,” said Khairy.

He said Putrajaya’s Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee which he co-chairs does not recommend that children be given the vaccines.

“So we can take out 20-30% of the population (who will be getting the vaccines). So we will have enough (vaccines) for all the adult population who are eligible.”

Meanwhile, Khairy said the special committee will submit a National Vaccination Plan to the Cabinet early next month detailing how the Covid-19 vaccinations will be implemented nationwide.

The plan, he said, will include details on the hospitals where the vaccines will be available as well as the registration process for the public.

He said the government will announce its policy on vaccination for foreign workers and expatriates.

“All this is being detailed and will be announced, including on logistics and storage,” said Khairy, adding that the government would make use of ultra-cold freezers to store the Pfizer vaccine which must be kept at -70 degrees Celsius.

‘We did our best’

Khairy said the government had to source its Covid-19 vaccine supply from multiple companies as no single one could meet the amount needed for the whole of Malaysia.

He said more wealthy countries such as Canada and Singapore had already acquired their vaccines from a single company.

“They can offer more and they can make decisions because their budgets are bigger than ours.

“Canada purchased enough vaccine for a 500% coverage of its population. Our wallet is not that big. So I am forced to negotiate with prudence.

“We are neither a rich nor a poor nation, but we have done our best.

“We are not the fastest, but we won’t be the slowest,” Khairy added.

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