Last chance to get free Covid-19 vaccines for Malaysians

However, those who have yet to turn five between May 31 and Dec 31 and children who were infected or have parents who contracted Covid-19 recently will still have access to free vaccines.


Don’t be afraid: Cindy David, 34, comforting her daughter Clency Cyenerie Nereus, eight, who is ­receiving her vaccine dose at a clinic in Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

May 31, 2022

PETALING JAYA: A business executive, who wants to be known only as Annie, has taken leave from work today. The 37-year-old wants to ensure that her six-year-old daughter gets her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine before the deadline.

The government’s National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids) draws to an end today.

There will be no more free doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for children aged between five and 11.

Annie was one of those parents who adopted a wait-and-see attitude towards vaccination for children, and after much thought, she decided it was important.

“Some of my friends’ children had the jabs and they are all doing okay. Now that things are opening up, I think it’s best to take precautions. I will walk into a Klink Kesihatan to get her vaccinated,” she says.

There are many like Annie who have been hesitant, but with just hours to go to the deadline, parents are also being urged to “grab” the opportunity to ensure their unvaccinated children get their first dose.

Deputy Health Minister I Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will no longer be administered for free after today.

However, there will be an exception for two groups – those who have yet to turn five between May 31 and Dec 31 and children who were infected or have parents who contracted Covid-19 recently.

Those who had postponed their vaccination because of an infection can register via MySejahtera for an appointment or head to the nearest Klinik Kesihatan for their free dose.

“(The) last date for both groups to get (their) first dose is Jan 31, 2023,” he said.

Others who have not been vaccinated with their first dose will have to do it for a fee at private healthcare facilities.

“The facilities can decide on the cost. At the moment, they can only give Coronavac (Sinovac) vaccine,” said Dr Noor Azmi, who is also chairman of the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force for Children (CITF-C).

He said the price of the vaccine should be in line with the ceiling price, but the clinics could charge for services, consultation, consumables and other items.

The ceiling price for the Sinovac vaccine was capped at RM77 at retail level and RM62 at wholesale level.

However, checks with private healthcare groups showed that there has yet to be a decision on the pricing of vaccination.

Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah advised parents looking to get their children vaccinated “to wait for further information”.

Meanwhile, one parent who declined to be named said it is a relief that children who were infected with Covid-19 still had the option to receive the jab at government health clinics.

“I am happy that I can still take my child to Klinik Kesihatan for the shot. The doctor advised to take the jab a few weeks after recovery. We didn’t postpone the vaccination on purpose. It happened because of Covid-19,” he said, while noting that it would have otherwise been a burden to pay for the jab at private healthcare facilities.

Another parent who wants to be known only as Noor said she opted to take a wait-and-see approach as she was not too convinced about vaccinating her children.

“I don’t know whether the kids would be able to take it but I think if I do decide on getting them vaccinated I will have to pay for it then,” she added.

A total of 1.16 million children or 32.9% have been fully vaccinated since the PICKids programme began on Feb 3 while another 1.71 million or 48.3% have received at least one dose.

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