PUTRAJAYA, Sept 2 — Malaysia has yet to decide to go ahead with COVID-19 vaccination exercise for children below 12 years old, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
“There has been no approval for pediatric vaccination yet in Malaysia or anywhere else. It’s still under review by regulatory agencies, whether it be Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the National Health Control Authority (NHRA).
“Once there is enough data to support that it is safe to give out to children, then we will take that to the vaccination committee for consideration and for us to decide,” he told a news conference providing COVID-19 updates here today.
According to him, vaccine manufacturer Pfizer-BioNTech was in the midst of producing a COVID-19 vaccine for children, and it would have a different dosage from adults.
Khairy said with no approved vaccination for those 12 years old and below, vaccinating the adult population at school would be the best way to keep it safe for children who had not been vaccinated.
Khairy said the Heath Ministry was also considering making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory in order to address the issue among anti-vaxxers.
For the time being, however, he said the Government maintained its stance it was not going to legally mandate vaccines as mandatory.
“I’ve not come to the stage where I would recommend to the Cabinet a federal mandate but I’m not far from it either,” he said.
He added that a new policy on testing for COVID-19 would soon be implemented for those who refused to get vaccinated for non-medical reasons.
Under this policy, a person would need to test themselves with a COVID-19 test kit regularly to ensure they were free from the virus.
“Once we go into an endemic phase, whether you have been vaccinated or not, you need to test yourself quite regularly.
“Those who refused to get vaccinated will have a certain schedule or regime of testing that they would have to adhere to.
“Whether it is rapid test kits and if that (result) is positive, will be confirmed through a PCR test,” he said.
In line with this, Khairy said the government in today’s Cabinet meeting had agreed to set a ceiling price for the COVID-19 self-test kits.
He said the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi would make an announcement on the matter soon.
There are currently 11 brands of COVID-19 self-test kits that have been granted conditional approval by the Health Ministry for public use.