KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Senior Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Md Jidin has offered up public schools to be used as Covid-19 vaccination centres to help the government achieve its vaccination targets.
In a report by The Star, he said the Ministry of Education (MoE) was prepared to assist with vaccination efforts in line with the National Recovery Plan (NRP), but conceded that this was dependent on the supply of vaccines.
“The Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) will look into this and on our side, we are ready to help. We will provide whatever help they need.
“What is important is that we carry out the vaccination drive for our students.
Radzi explained the decision came after approval by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) for children above 12 to receive their Covid-19 vaccines, where he said the MOE had prompted the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) to prioritise exam-year students for vaccination.
He was quoted as saying he discussed this with National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
“If possible, the ministry wants all teachers and students to be vaccinated as soon as possible but due to the issue of supply, we requested for the two important exam year cohorts, SPM and STPM, to be vaccinated first.
“This is to allow their process of learning to run smoothly. Schools are expected to reopen between September and October, subject to the NRP thresholds, but we hope that our request will be considered to allow exam year students, if the situation at the time permits, to return earlier,” he said.
He included how many factors need to be considered before starting the vaccination drive for teenagers, the main challenge being vaccine supply, but added that nothing could be decided until there were enough vaccines.
“The main challenge of the national vaccine drive is the supply of vaccines where everyone must be realistic about the constraints the JKJAV is facing.
“If JKJAV says other students can be vaccinated after the exam year students have had theirs, the ministry would, by then, know how to run the process,” he said.
“The vaccination rollout for Form Five students is being looked into by JKJAV, so I do not want to jump the gun. We will help with the vaccination programme once a decision is made on how the process should roll out,” he said.
Radzi added that to date, some 148,580 teachers have received at least their first dose of vaccines, representing around 36 per cent of the teacher population.