Malaysia authorises Pfizer for children aged 12-17, single-shot CanSino & J&J vaccines get greenlight

The Ministry of Health has given conditional approval for two single-dose vaccines in Malaysia. This includes Convidecia Recombinant Novel Coronavirus Vaccine (Adenovirus Type 5 Vector) from CanSino Bio of China and Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine by Johnson & Johnson (J&J). On top of that, teenagers in Malaysia might get vaccinated soon as they have authorised the use of Pfizer vaccines for children aged 12 and above.

CanSino and Johnson & Johnson

Malaysia has procured a total of 3.5 million doses of CanSino Bio vaccines which can cover 10% of the population and it is among the 5 vaccines listed under the National Immunisation Programme. According to the official statement, Malaysia will obtain the J&J vaccines through the COVAX facility. However, there’s no mention of the number of doses and delivery schedule.

The single-dose vaccines are seen as a game-changer as it doesn’t require two doses like the current vaccines such as Pfizer, Sinovac and AstraZeneca. The single-dose vaccines will speed up completed vaccinations and can be used to vaccinate people in rural and hard-to-reach places, as well as foreigners. CanSino Bio has a rated efficacy rate of 65.7% while Johnson & Johnson has an efficacy rate of 66.7%.

Pfizer for 12 to 17-year-olds

Another breakthrough is that the Drug Control Authority has also authorised the use of Pfizer vaccines (aka Comirnaty) for children as young as 12-years-old. Prior to this, the vaccine was only approved for adults aged 18-years-old and above.

Despite the approval to vaccinate younger age groups, the Ministry of Health believes that the vaccines must be prioritised for high-risk groups as currently defined by the National Immunisation Programme. As shared by Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, children below 18 years old will be vaccinated under Phase 5 and this could start sometime in August.

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At the moment, the NIP program is still running Phase 2 which covers senior citizens, people with chronic diseases and people with disability. Employees under crucial manufacturing sectors will soon receive their jab under Phase 4 which will start this week.

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Alexander Wong