MoE, MoH tie-up to accelerate vaccination for students

A total of 323 students aged 16 and 17 from SMK Putrajaya Precinct 8 (1) became the 1st group to receive the vaccine yesterday


THE Education Ministry (MoE) will work with the Health Ministry (MoH) and the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force to assist and speed up the vaccination registration of school students.

Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said his party has identified schools throughout the country to be used as vaccination centres (PPVs) for students.

“MoE will also assist in terms of providing staff and logistical needs for this purpose.

“The strategic cooperation between the MoE and MoH will definitely speed up the implementation of vaccination for school students.

“We are committed to doing our best,” he said at a press conference after observing the immunisation programme for students at SMK Putrajaya Precinct 8 (1) yesterday.

Also present were Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, Education DG Datin Seri Nor Zamani Abdol Hamid and senior officials from both ministries.

Radzi said a total of 323 students aged 16 and 17 from SMK Putrajaya Precinct 8 (1) became the first group to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, after the official launch of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NCIP) for adolescents.

He noted that currently there are a total of 377,591 16-year-old students and 371,676 17-year-old students nationwide.

Besides Putrajaya, teenagers in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Kedah, Perlis and Pahang also started receiving their Covid-19 jabs yesterday.

On that note, Khairy said the MoH is targeting 3.2 million Malaysian teenagers aged 12 to 17 years old to be vaccinated under the NCIP for adolescents.

He added that a total of 85,076 teenagers in Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan have received their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as of Sept 16.

Of that number, no serious side effects were detected among the recipients.

“However, for the states with vaccine supply issues, priority would be given to teenagers who have to sit for public examinations, namely those aged 16 and 17.

“NCIP for adolescents is important in line with the reopening of schools. This is our commitment as requested by the 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,” he noted.

Commenting further, Khairy said several existing PPVs that are in operation will be used for the administration of Covid-19 vaccine to school students.

He noted that the MoH will be announcing the list of selected PPVs today and teenagers aged 12 to 17 will be able to walk in for their Covid-19 vaccination at these selected PPVs.

“Right now, teenagers have two ways to get vaccinated. Either they wait to receive their appointments from school PPVs, or they can walk in at these selected PPVs.

“Parents or guardians of the teenager must accompany their children for the walk-in process for teenagers. They will be required to fill up the consent form at the PPV, and sign it in the presence of a doctor,” he added.

Khairy also advised teenagers not to undergo any physical activity for a week after vaccination.

Meanwhile, Khairy also said the increase in Covid-19 cases among teenagers under the age of 18 has been quite worrying.

He highlighted that there is an increase from 12,620 Covid-19 cases in 2020, to 400,668 cases involving teenagers as of Sept 16.

“Of the total, 252,569 cases involved school children and 42,831 cases involved pre-school children.

“A total of 62 deaths among children were reported this year, compared to six in 2020,” he noted.

Therefore, he said the government is targeting at least 60% of teens to receive at least one vaccination dose by November, and at least 80% by January next year.

According to the minister, Malaysia has enough supply of Covid-19 vaccines for its immunisation programme for teenagers, as well as for booster shots.

He said the ministry will be announcing the details of the booster shot programme in the next week or two.

On Sunday, the government announced that Covid-19 vaccine booster shots will be given to frontliners and the elderly once the mass immunisation coverage has reached 80% of the adult population nationwide.

On the single-dose CanSino vaccine, Khairy said the government will be monitoring its usage in other countries and decide whether there is a need to implement booster shots.

He noted that CanSino had submitted to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency on the need for booster doses after six months.