The government has approved the conditional registration for emergency use for two single-dose Covid-19 vaccines – China’s CanSino and the US’ Johnson & Johnson – and given the green light for the Pfizer jab to be administered to children 12 years old and above.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the decision was made at a meeting of the Drug Control Authority (DCA) today.
In a statement, he said the Pfizer jab was previously granted conditional registration approval for administration to those 18 and above.
“Although these additional indications have been approved, the health ministry is of the opinion that priority for vaccination should still be given to those in the high-risk group, in line with the policy set out under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK),” he said.
He added that approval of conditional registration requires information on the quality, safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, to be monitored and evaluated based on the latest data.
“It is to ensure that the benefit over risk comparison remains positive,” he said.
Canada on May 6 became the first country to authorise the Pfizer jab for children 12 and above.
This was followed by the US on May 11 and Singapore on May 18. On May 29, The European Medicines Agency approved the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds.
PICK coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in March that the government might have to drop the Johnson & Johnson jab from its portfolio of vaccines, citing concerns over slow delivery.
“They can only give two million doses at the end of the year and for us, it is too late,” he said at a press conference on March 8.
He added that Putrajaya was considering the CanSino jab instead, so that it could obtain a single-dose vaccine for use in PICK.
The DCA on March 2 approved the conditional registration of three Covid-19 vaccines for use during a disaster, namely Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca Solution for Injection; CoronaVac Suspension for Injection – Sinovac; and Comirnaty Concentrate for Dispersion for Injection.