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KUALA LUMPUR (July 28): The government has decided not to proceed with vaccination of those aged between 12 and 17 years for now, pending further studies and clinical data, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Speaking in Parliament, Khairy said although the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency has approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine for this group, the technical working group headed by Institute for Clinical Research Malaysia director Dr Kalaiarasu Peariasamy has advised against it.

This is in line with the decision made by the UK government whereby they have previously postponed the administration of vaccines to 12-17 year olds, Khairy said in his winding-up speech.

“The reasons given are based on the report of side effects in the US. There were reported side effects of myocarditis, or heart inflammation, in as many as 40 cases per one million doses of mRNA Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine given to men aged 12-29 years old.

“With a small but alarming incidence, the technical working group has suggested that we wait for data from other countries to be obtained, before we proceed with the vaccine for this group,” he said.

Khairy, who is also the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) coordinating minister, said as for now, the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) will issue a clinical guideline for 12-17 year olds who are at high risk of being infected by Covid-19.

“Teenagers who have chronic illness and are immunocompromised will be offered the vaccine on a voluntary basis, with all risk assessments done, but it will only be available for this particular group of teenagers for now.

“So for SPM students, yes we initially wanted to vaccinate them but after getting views from experts including pediatric cardiologists, we decided to err on the side of caution,” he added.

Safety of heterologous vaccinations need for third dose to be decided next week

Meanwhile, Khairy noted that the Institute for Clinical Research Malaysia will also present its findings on the feasibility of heterologous vaccinations, or the use of different Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers for each dose, to JKJAV next week.

He added that any recommendation on the need for another booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will also be presented then.

“We will get recommendations from the group of experts based on real world data, as well as clinical data on whether this heterologous vaccination is safe, and whether those who have received a complete two doses of one type of vaccine can receive a third booster shot using another vaccine,” he said.

Khairy further said he has initiated negotiations two weeks ago with vaccine manufacturers, especially Pfizer, for Malaysia to finalize its procurement of vaccines for 2022, specifically for the production of a new Pfizer vaccine that is specifically as a booster dose and for teenagers.

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