KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said that children aged between 12 and 17 are slated to be included in the fifth phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
He said this would most likely start in August.
However, Dr Adham stressed that the final decision rests with the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) as to whether the Pfizer vaccine can be administered to children in Malaysia, The Star reported.
He also said only Pfizer had submitted a request to the NRPA for their vaccine to be used on children and is currently waiting for a reply to its letter dated May 31.
He pointed out that the Covid-19 vaccines currently in use in the country can only be given to those aged 18 and above as regulated by NPRA.
Dr Adham explained that the government is keen to protect children from the highly infectious coronavirus.
“Data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines in children is already out and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its use on children.
“However, locally, Pfizer would need to submit an application to the NPRA to expand the use of its Covid-19 vaccine in children aged 12 and above.
“In the interim, the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee and the Disease Control Division under the Health Ministry would also have to endorse the use of the vaccine in children,” he was quoted as saying.
Dr Adham also explained that neighbouring countries like Singapore and the Philippines have already approved the Pfizer vaccine for children in a similar age bracket.
In May, the Pfizer vaccine was authorised for use in children as young as 12 in Europe, the United States and Canada. They receive the same dose as adults: 30 micrograms.
Inoculating children and young people is considered a critical step toward reaching “herd immunity” and bringing the Covid-19 pandemic under control.