KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) clarified today that only students who will be sitting for the Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) and are 18 years old this year can proceed with their scheduled inoculation.
“The Covid-19 vaccination will continue according to the appointment schedule for examination year students who have reached age 18, for example Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia candidates, including those who will be 18 this year,” it said in a statement this afternoon.
It emphasised that vaccination will not proceed for those aged 12 to 17 who may have received vaccination appointment dates through the MySejahtera app earlier.
The CITF explained that the decision to refuse younger adolescents, including those below 17 who will be sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), is to prevent them from possibly developing myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart) as a side effect from vaccination.
The task force noted that studies in the US had shown that adolescents were at greater risk of developing the two heart conditions after the second dose.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have disclosed that myocarditis and pericarditis have been observed in adolescents and young adults, more if they are male and aged around 16, after taking the mRNA type vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
The CITF said the Health Ministry is currently finalising its clinical guidelines for administering the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to adolescents with chronic health problems and at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.
It added that it will provide further information after deciding on the implementation date for this group.
The CITF said the government is stepping up vaccination of teachers and support staff to prepare for the reopening of schools, expected to be in September.
Earlier this month, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba announced that vaccination for adolescents would only be administered for those with underlying medical conditions for now.
Khairy said that the move was announced as a precaution and to err on the side of caution.
When asked for clarification on the type of underlying medical conditions, Dr Adham listed immuno-compromised children, cancer patients and those with chronic lung disease and other comorbidities such as heart disease and diabetes as those who would be given priority for vaccination.