PUTRAJAYA: The health ministry has started negotiations to procure vaccines to immunise children under 12 against Covid-19, its minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced today.
In a press conference, he said he has gone through the terms with a vaccine producer regarding its clinical trials on children aged 12 and below.
“We are now negotiating to procure the vaccines,” he said.
“The company has made preparations to send the data to regulatory bodies across the world, but it says it needs more time – maybe by next month – to get assessed by NPRA whether the vaccine can be registered (in Malaysia).
“I am confident other companies will also do the same as they have also conducted clinical trials among kids.”
However, he did not mention from which company Putrajaya would be procuring the vaccine doses.
China started allowing children aged three to 17 to get vaccinated with Sinovac, one of the first countries to immunise its young population.
It also approved the use of Sinovac for children aged six years onwards, with clinical trials ongoing in South Africa for children aged from six months to 17 years.
Malaysia has started vaccinating teens aged 12 to 17, with over 156 vaccination centres and schools being used for the purpose nationwide.
Khairy reminded parents and teens that walk-in vaccinations are only available in selected PPVs for children no longer in the schooling system, are studying in varsities or those being home-schooled.
He also announced that the ministry agreed to shorten the dosage interval for AstraZeneca recipients from nine weeks to six weeks.
As for the third doses, Khairy said the ministry will be rolling out the third doses by next month once approved by the NPRA and the Covid-19 vaccine supply access guarantee special committee (JKJAV).
He said the ministry received Pfizer’s dossier on third and booster doses, which he hoped the NPRA would approve as soon as possible.
He also explained that there was a difference between third doses and booster shots, saying the former would be given to those whose immune system’s response to their initial two doses was found insufficient.
Meanwhile, booster shots will be given to those whose immune system response was in the decline despite developing sufficient immunity initially.
“Booster shots will be given as a stimulant to the immune system so that it is more effective against Covid-19.”
Once the third and booster dose programme is approved, he said the jabs will be given to all Malaysians who require it, but starting with the immunocompromised and elderly first.
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