KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 20): Several states in the peninsula today began implementing the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme (PICK) for Adolescents, following in the footsteps of Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan, which had kicked it off earlier after achieving 80% vaccination rate.
The programme, which was officially launched today by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, targets the participation of 3.2 million teenagers aged 12 to 17.
The implementation of PICK for Adolescents is important in preparing for the reopening of schools in October, so as to ensure the risk of infection in schools can be reduced and to prevent the occurrence of clusters and cases among school children.
In JOHOR, more than 87,000 Form 4 and Form 5 students in the state will receive the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at 173 vaccination centres (PPV).
Johor Education, Information, Heritage and Culture Committee chairman Mazlan Bujang said the programme was expected to last until the end of November for the first dose and December for the second dose.
He said the vaccination for students with comorbidities could only be carried out at certain PPVs run by the Ministry of Health.
In PAHANG, a total of 42,875 Form 4 and Form 5 students in the state are expected to complete the first dose of the vaccine jab by the end of this month.
Pahang Health director Datuk Dr Nor Azimi Yunus said a total of 22 public PPV centres, 44 educational institutions and four Health Clinics have been operating to make the vaccination programme a success.
Meanwhile, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tanah Putih, Kuantan student Lim Zhen Fung,17, said his parents encouraged him to be vaccinated.
“I am ready and not worried about getting vaccinated because it is an initiative to reduce the risk of infection and the vaccine makes me feel safer to go back to school,” he said.
In SABAH, the excitement of returning to school and the confidence in the vaccines have prompted some students in the Kota Kinabalu district to be vaccinated.
Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Agama Kota Kinabalu student Nurnadhirah Mohd Sha, 13, said she made the decision to take the jab, although she was initially a bit nervous.
Her eldest brother, Maktab Sabah student Mohd Syahmiezzat Arradzzi Mohd Sha, 14, who was also vaccinated today, said he often worried about getting infected whenever he was out and about, especially at school.
Nurul Alya Balqis Jainudin, 12, a student of Sekolah Kebangsaan Tebobon, is happy to be vaccinated and can't wait to go back to school.
All three students were met by Bernama at the Institute of Higher Education, Universiti Malaysia Malaysia (UMS) vaccination centre today.
The PICK for Adolescents is organised by the Covid-19 Immunisation Special Task Force-Adolescent (CITF-A), chaired by Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
CITF-A, in an earlier statement, said it was targeting 60% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 to get at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by this November, and 80% to be fully vaccinated before school opens for the 2022 session.