Health DG: First phase of vaccines limited to 18 years old and above

by S BIRRUNTHA/ FILE PIX 

THE supply of first phase vaccines for the country is limited to individuals aged 18 years and above, as there is no data or detailed study on the safety of its use on children.

Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said most of the vaccine studies were not conducted among individuals under the age of 18.

He added that if children under the age of 12 receive the vaccine, there are fears of side effects from its use.

“So far, the majority of our vaccines will look at the indications used in research studies with respect to the age of over 18 years.

“For children under 12, it is necessary to look at the data and the MoH was informed that most vaccines do not carry out studies for those under 18,” he said in his Covid-19 press conference today.  

Dr Noor Hisham said this commenting on the 12.8 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine which do not involve immunisations for children.

Following this, Dr Noor Hisham added the ministry would carry out regular checks on those who had received the vaccines.

He noted that this is to monitor any side effects arising from the vaccine and to ensure that the country could eventually achieve herd immunity.

He added that for now, the most important step is to ensure that the vaccine was safely registered under the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

“The five most important aspects that the government will look into includes, the registration of the vaccine; supply and logistics; allocation and distribution; monitoring of side effects; and the overall evaluation of the vaccine,” he noted.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the government had signed a deal with pharmaceutical company Pfizer on Nov 24 to procure 12.8 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The vaccination is expected to immunise a total of 6.4 million people in the country.

Meanwhile, the country recorded 1,019 new Covid-19 positive cases today, involving 1,099 local transmissions and ten import cases.

Dr Noor Hisham said Sabah recorded the highest number of cases again with 441 cases, followed by Selangor (175) and Negri Sembilan (167).  

He added other states with new cases today include Kuala Lumpur (154), Penang (64), Perak (42), Johor (33), Kedah (25), Kelantan (5) and Pahang (3).

Putrajaya, Melaka, Perlis, Terengganu, Labuan and Sarawak did not record any new cases today.

The increase in new cases today have brought the country’s overall total to 61,861.          

There are now 11,307 active Covid-19 cases that are being treated at health facilities nationwide.  

Among the active cases today, 113 were placed in the intensive care unit (ICU), with 41 of them requiring respiratory aid.        

A total of 1,148 patients have been discharged today, increasing the total recovered cases in the country to 50,204, which equals to 81.2%.        

Two new Covid-19 deaths were recorded in Sabah and Labuan today, bringing the country’s Covid-19 death toll to 350.

Additionally, Dr Noor Hisham said the ministry has identified four new Covid-19 clusters today.  

The clusters were namely, Jalan Haruan cluster in Negri Sembilan; Puteh Lama construction site cluster in Kuala Lumpur; the Beringin cluster in Penang; and the Jalan Tuaran cluster in Sabah.