KUALA LUMPUR: Parents will not be forced to vaccinate their children against Covid-19 as the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Kids (PICKids) is voluntary, says Khairy Jamaluddin.
The Health Minister said the ministry wanted to ensure that parents make an informed decision when choosing to allow their children to receive Covid-19 jabs.
He added that children would also not be subjected to vaccine mandates like adults, and would be allowed to enter premises even if they were unvaccinated.
“Adults are not allowed to enter eateries or shopping malls if they are not fully vaccinated, but we will not subject children to the same conditions.
“Children are given exemption. What we want is for parents to be convinced when they decide to vaccinate their children and not feel forced to do it,” he said at the launch of PICKids at Hospital Tunku Azizah here Thursday (Feb 3).
Khairy however said children who did not have vaccine protection were at risk of getting multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) or Long Covid if they were infected with Covid-19.
“Since January, there have been 9,413 Covid-19 cases involving children aged seven to 12.
“Although this is not a lot compared to adults, children who are infected are at risk of MIS-C as well as Long Covid, of which we do not know the true effects.
“So the best way to get children protected from the effects of Covid-19 is to get them vaccinated,” he said, adding that he had already registered his six-year-old child under PICKids.
Khairy said the ministry and its experts had conducted a thorough study on children’s vaccination programmes in other countries such as the United States, Singapore and Australia, before giving the approval for children in Malaysia to be given Covid-19 jabs.
He added that 15% of eligible children had registered for PICKids to date.
Under PICKids, children would be receiving the Cominarty vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech, with the dosage lowered to a third of what is given to adults.
The interval between two doses had been set at eight weeks.