KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — The deadline for the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine for children aged five to under 12 through the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids), which was scheduled for May 15, has been extended until May 31.

Deputy Health Minister I Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said the matter was decided in the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force for Children (CITF-C) meeting on May 10, taking into account the Hari Raya and Labour Day holidays and the closure of the vaccination centres.

“This extension will give parents a chance to reschedule their child’s vaccination appointments,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Noor Azmi, however, said this was only applicable to those who registered before May 8 via the MySejahtera application and could not get the vaccination on the set date.

He added parents who have registered and made appointments before or on May 8 and chose the vaccination date before or on May 31, can proceed according to schedule.

“Parents who have registered and made appointments before or on May 8, but opted for a vaccination date after May 31, the appointment on the MySejahtera app will be automatically cancelled. Meanwhile, for those who registered after May 8, the appointment link will not be given on the app. 

“However, those parents would be able to walk in for appointments at government health clinics for the Covid-19 vaccination until May 31,” he added.

He added that vaccination at these clinics depends on the available supply of vaccines and is based on a first-come basis, and if the supply for that day has run out, parents will need to come back the next day.

“After May 31, children in the PICKids age group will no longer be offered Covid-19 vaccine shots for free. Vaccination will instead be available for a fee at private facilities.

“Exceptions will be made for those who are forced to cancel their appointments on or before May 31 due to Covid-19 infection,” he explained.

Dr Noor Azmi said given the possible complications from Multiple Systemic Inflammation Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), parents are advised to get their children vaccinated at health clinics within six weeks of recovery, or by August 30.

“Today’s announcement does not apply to children who will turn five on or after May 15 or after May 31. Parents of children in this category can register and book an appointment for the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine through MySejahtera until January 15, 2023,” he said adding that the deadline for the first dose of vaccine for these children is January 31, 2023. — Bernama