As reported by Bernama, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that his ministry has outlined more than 20 Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that are targetted to be achieved within 100 days. Among the KPIs is the vaccination programme for children aged between 12 to 17 years old as well as the policy announcement for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
Khairy said the vaccination programme for teenagers would start next week in Sarawak because they have vaccinated over 80% of adults.
The minister added that he hopes to get as many teenagers as possible vaccinated before the opening of the new school term next year. He added that the target for teens will be based on the supply of vaccines. At the moment, Pfizer is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has received conditional approval from Malaysia’s health regulators to vaccinate children aged between 12 to 17 years old.
Before the recent change of administration, Khairy had previously said that vaccinations will be prioritised for teenagers with underlying medical conditions. This will be followed by teenagers without medical issues and it will be administered according to age.
At the moment, Sarawak has fully vaccinated over 1.7 million people or 87.3% of the adult population. The east Malaysian state has been eager to begin vaccinating teenagers. It planned to innoculate 16 and 17-year-olds at 194 secondary schools within the state.
Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Dr Sim Kui Hian said that there are about 240,000 Sarawakians aged between 12 to 17 years old. He previously shared that 2,278 or 29% of total new cases reported in the first 12 days of August were aged below 18 years old. This includes 832 cases involving children aged 6 years old.
Although the children may have mild severity, Dr Sim added that there’s still a lot that we don’t know about Long Covid syndrome and paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS).
COVID-19 situation in Sarawak
Despite having one of the highest fully vaccination rates in the country, Sarawak continues to record over 2,000 new cases daily and there are over 1,000 cases reported in Kuching alone. However, the state continues to record a significantly lower number of deaths and severe cases on a daily basis.
As shared by Health Director-General Dr Noor Hisham, Sarawak is currently using 65% of its ICU beds for COVID-19, which is lower than the national average of 87%. While Malaysia reported a surge of 362 new deaths this evening, Sarawak recorded 2 COVID-19 deaths today.
Interestingly, all 2,723 new cases reported in Sarawak are classified as category 1 and 2, where the individual exhibit mild or no symptoms. There are no severe category 3, 4 and 5 cases today, which is a strong indicator that the vaccines helped in preventing severe COVID-19 symptoms despite the surge of infections.
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