PUTRAJAYA: Anxious parents of teenagers waiting to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations have been advised not to panic as the Health Ministry assures that everyone will get their jabs.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said school-going teens must wait for their respective schools to inform them when and where to get their Covid-19 jabs.
"I would like to advise parents not to worry or panic. We have enough vaccines for all.
"In the past, it took a while for people to receive appointments even though they registered early. That was because we did not have enough supply of vaccines.
"Now we have sufficient supply for the 3.2 million teenagers in the country.
"We can assure you that none of our children will be left behind. We have outreach programmes to get to people living in the interior as well as those who are bedridden," said Dr Noor Azmi at a joint press conference with Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.
Dr Noor Azmi, who is also chairman of the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force for Adolescents (CITF-A) said walk-ins for adolescents aged between 12 and 17 were limited to non-schoolgoers.
He urged parents of school-going teens not to rush to PPV (vaccination centres).
"Don't rush to PPV only to be rejected there. If your children are not from boarding schools, they will get their appointment from their schools.
"No need to panic. We will be able to get to our target of fully vaccinating 80% of our teens by year-end," he added.
For university students who have not reached the age of 18, Dr Noor Azmi said they could walk in to public PPV, but must be accompanied by a parent and must show their student identification.
Boarding school students would be given appointments at PPV closest to them via the MySejahtera application, he added.
Schooling teenagers with special needs such as those having the autism spectrum or ADHD, he said, would be inoculated at hospitals or health clinics.
He said the Education Ministry would help identify such teenagers.
Dr Noor Azmi said disabled teenagers undergoing rehabilitation at community centres would be vaccinated through outreach programmes at those centres or at health facilities.
Meanwhile, Dr Mah said it was still early to determine how many school-going teenagers would refuse Covid-19 inoculations, adding that the government would monitor the situation closely.
He said they did not expect the numbers of such students to be high, adding that they would take several approaches to convince them to be vaccinated, including counselling the parents.
"We have discussed this in detail and we acknowledge that a student has the right to study there. There is no reason we can refuse or not allow them to come back to school to study.
"We will have counselling, especially for the parents. For a child who does not want to be vaccinated, usually it is because of the parents.
"There might be a small number who are hesitant or even reject vaccines, but we have several steps to help explain why they must take the vaccine," said Dr Mah.
The vaccination programme for teenagers is expected to involve 3.2 million adolescents aged between 12 and 17.
Up to Sept 21, a total of 410,489 teens have received their first jabs since the programme kicked off in Sarawak on Sept 8.
Malaysia has approved for those aged between 12 and 17 to only be jabbed with the Pfizer vaccines.
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