PUTRAJAYA (Sept 20): The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) for adolescents officially kicked off today, targeting the involvement of 3.2 million teenagers aged 12 to 17, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said the programme would be carried out through several methods, such as outreach to schools or institutions on a scheduled basis, injections at health clinics and hospitals as well as walk-ins at selected vaccination centres (PPVs) nationwide.
"The teenagers must be present with their parents or guardians to sign the consent form to receive the vaccine," he told a joint press conference with Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Putrajaya Presint 8 (1) here today.
Adolescents with health problems will be exempted from receiving the vaccine, Khairy said, adding that the list of special PPVs for walk-in vaccination will be announced tomorrow.
He said the implementation of the programme is important in preparation for the reopening of schools in October and to ensure that the risk of infection in schools could be reduced as well as to prevent the occurrence of clusters and cases among schoolchildren.
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On Sept 12, Radzi announced that the country will start face-to-face school sessions from Oct 3 according to the respective phases in the National Recovery Plan (PPN).
Khairy, meanwhile, said the increasing trend of Covid-19 infection among children aged 0 to 18 in Malaysia is worrying.
A total of 400,668 such cases were recorded so far this year, involving 256,569 schoolchildren and 42,381 preschool children, compared with 12,620 infections in 2020.
Khairy added that all states with vaccine supplies had been given the permission to start the immunisation programme for teenagers.
He said the programme started in Sarawak on Sept 8 and Labuan on Sept 11 after the vaccination rates of the state and the federal territory reached 80%.
Khairy added that the programme started on Sept 16 in Sabah.
As of Sept 16, he said, a total of 86,076 teenagers had been given the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.
The programme is organised by the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force- Adolescent (CITF-A) chaired by Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
Today, a total of 323 students of SMK Putrajaya Presint 8 (1) consisting of 156 Form Four and 167 Form Five students received the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
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