by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by AFP
THE Health Ministry (MoH) is targeting 3.2 million Malaysian teenagers between 12 and 17 years old to be vaccinated under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP).
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said a total of 85,076 teenagers in Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan have received their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as of Sept 16.
He said of that number, no serious side effects were detected among the recipients.
“However, for the states with constraints in terms of vaccine supply, priority would be given to teenagers who have to sit for public examinations, namely those aged 16 and 17.
“NCIP for adolescents is important as schools are reopening soon. This is our commitment as requested by the Education Ministry (MoE). We want to open up schools in an orderly manner.
“Among our strategies is to provide immunisation coverage to those who are going to sit for examination, by providing a safe environment and making sure they get protection from the vaccine,” Khairy said at a press conference after observing the immunisation programme for students at SMK Putrajaya Precinct 8 (1) today.
Also present were Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin, Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Education DG Datin Seri Nor Zamani Abdol Hamid, as well as senior officials from both ministries.
Commenting further, Khairy said the increase in Covid-19 cases among teenagers under the age of 18 has been quite worrying.
Therefore, he noted that the MoH is targeting 60% of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 to get at least one dose of vaccine by Nov this year.
He also added that about 80% of the group is targeted to receive the full dose of vaccine by Jan 2022.