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No haste to innoculate children below 12, a wise move - experts

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 18): Experts have thrown their support behind the government’s move to wait for the results of studies and obtain adequate data on the effectiveness and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 before deciding to inoculate the group, describing it as a wise decision.

Malaysian Doctors Club (MDC) founder, Dr Muhammad Hakim Nordin said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s move not to make a hasty decision on the matter was also practical.

“...they (children) are a low-risk group...then why should we subject the children to something (vaccination) that we are still not sure whether it is safe and effective.

“As far as I know, the WHO (World Health Organisation) has yet to recommend vaccination for children under 12,” he told Bernama.

Dr Muhammad Hakim said although some vaccine producers had confirmed the safety and effectiveness of their products, it was up to the WHO to determine whether the vaccines were safe for children under 12.

Khairy had previously said that talks were being held with a vaccine producer to procure COVID-19 vaccine for kids below 12 years old. The firm is preparing to send relevant data to every governing body worldwide including to Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Tuanku Muhriz Chancellor’s Hospital senior clinical lecturer and consultant paediatric immunologist, Dr Adli Ali said he believed the government was in the midst of evaluating several types of vaccines to be administered to the group.

He said having adequate data would increase parents’ confidence to allow their children to be vaccinated.

“I believe that they (the government) have also taken into account some data (from various vaccine producers) including Sinovac which has released data saying that the vaccine is safe for children aged 6 to 12,” he said.

Meanwhile, clinical microbiologist specialist from Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim), Assoc Prof Dr Nurul Azmawati Mohamed said deciding whether or not to vaccinate children under 12 was no easy task.

She said although clinical trials have shown that the vaccine is safe and effective for children abroad, the test report should be reviewed by experts from the WHO as well as the Health Ministry.

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