KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 — The Ministry of Education today reassured parents that every child has the right to an education, and therefore, won’t be refused entry to school, even if they choose for them not to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
In a joint press conference today with Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said these students will not be penalised for their vaccination status.
He added, however, that both ministries will step up efforts to provide better information on vaccination to their parents.
In terms of the Education Ministry, Dr Mah stated that it will counsel parents who are reluctant to allow their children to be vaccinated.
“Every student has the right to an education and there is no reason for us to prevent their return to school. But what we can do is offer counselling, specifically to their parents.
“I think for a student, if they refuse to get vaccinated, it has less to do with them and more to do with their parents. This is among the many other means that we will rely on to explain vaccines to parents and how they can ensure that their children are protected,” he said.
When asked whether the Education Ministry will look into segregating students based on their vaccination status, Dr Mah said that it was premature to explore such a measure, as the ministry does not know the exact number of vaccine-hesitant students yet.
“We are still in the early stages of youth vaccination so the percentage of students who refuse the vaccine is unclear. But I feel the number is small. Nonetheless, we will monitor the situation closely.
“And as I said earlier, we will take every measure, including counselling parents who are not ready to allow (their children) to get vaccinated, so that they are better prepared,” said Dr Mah, before reiterating that the ministry will continue to take steps to ensure the safety of students.
As for teachers who refuse to be vaccinated, Dr Mah explained that this group will be given other tasks.
However, the ministry is still waiting for further details on the issue pending deliberations by the Public Service Department, he added.
Both Dr Mah and Dr Noor Azmi were explaining the process for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) for adolescents, or PICK Youth, during their joint press conference today.
The programme, which began on September 20, aims to fully vaccinate 3.2 million teenagers aged 12 to 17 nationwide before the end of the year.