KUALA LUMPUR: China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine can be used on adolescents aged between 12 and 17, said Malaysia’s Health Ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said that the conditional approval was granted at the Drug Control Authority (DCA) meeting on Friday (Oct 1). The vaccine is produced by China’s Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd and Malaysia’s Pharmaniaga Lifesciences Sdn Bhd.
"However, the DCA recommends that the use of Sinovac among adolescents aged 12 to 17, for the moment, is given priority to adolescents without comorbidities and who have allergies or are not suitable to receive the Comirnaty vaccine,” said Dr Noor Hisham in a statement, as reported by Bernama.
"This is the second COVID-19 vaccine approved for use on adolescents after a similar approval was given to the Comirnaty vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech in June," he added.
According to Dr Noor Hisham, evaluation for the use of Sinovac among adolescents with comorbidities would continue once sufficient data was submitted.
Children and teenagers between 12 and 17 years old began to receive COVID-19 jabs on Sep 20 with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Data from the Ministry of Health showed that the government has given more than 47 per cent or 1.49 million of individuals aged between 12 and 17 at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday.
More than 86 per cent of the adult population has been fully vaccinated since the COVID-19 national immunisation programme launched in February.
On Thursday, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19 infection involving individuals under 18 years old were reported this year, up from 12,000 cases in 2020.
Sinovac is among the vaccines approved for condition use among individuals aged 18 and above in Malaysia.
In July, the Ministry of Health said it would stop administering Sinovac once supplies ran out.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said China would contribute an additional one million doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to Malaysia.
The contribution was made “on the basis of the deep friendship” between the two countries, it said in a statement, as reported by Bernama.
"Earlier, the Chinese government had in July 2021 donated 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine to help Malaysia’s National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme," it added.
Malaysia reported 11,889 COVID-19 cases on Friday, taking the total infections since the pandemic to over 2.2 million.