First doses of Covid-19 vaccine under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids) will not be offered after May 15, says Deputy Health Minister I Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
He said the deadline was set by the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force for Children (CITF-C) due to the low take-up of vaccine which could lead to high vaccine wastage.
“In order to prevent the wastage of the children’s Covid-19 Comirnaty vaccine that is not used within six months after being released by the manufacturer, a deadline must be set.
“Therefore, from May 16 this year the ministry will no longer offer the first dose of the Comirnaty and CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccines to children aged five to 12,” he said in a statement.
PICKids kicked off in February. As of April 12, only 1,371,120 or 38.6% of children had received a first dose, while 195,865 children had completed two shots of vaccine.
The CITF-C chairman said parents whose children have yet to get the jabs would have to decide before the May 15 deadline.
“After the deadline, the Cominarty Covid-19 vaccine for children will no longer be offered at any public or private health facilities in Malaysia. The Coronavac vaccine meanwhile will only be given for a fee at private facilities,” he said.
However, he said the deadline would not involve the vaccination of children born in 2017 who will not reach the age of five by May 15, adding that vaccination details for this group will be announced soon.
He also said the CITF-C had agreed to make amendments to the Covid-19 vaccination consent form for children under 18 by removing Clause 2 which reads: “I am responsible for the risks that may occur to children as a result of my decision/action because the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the side effects.”
“The clause will be dropped to avoid confusion and to convey existing practices which the health ministry has never neglected, as well as the readiness of the ministry to provide the necessary health assistance if they experience side effects after receiving the vaccine,” he said.
Meanwhile, Noor Azmi said healthcare workers would get in touch with parents who have registered their children for the jabs through the MySejahtera application, through phone calls, social media or home visits.
“Parents who have agreed (to have their children vaccinated) will be given an appointment before the deadline. Parents who have yet to register their children to get vaccinated via MySejahtera can do so by May 8.
“I urge parents who have yet to decide, not to miss the opportunity to get the vaccine for free through PICKids before the deadline. Choose to vaccinate your children to avoid severe complications of Covid-19 infection,” he added.