Vaccinating the Under-17s is not Child’s Play

Source: J Law – Twitter
Summary
  • Utilizing DOSM statistics, there are approximately 754,000 adolescents aged 12-17 residing in Klang Valley. So while on the surface, 286,700 seems like a good chunk, it still only represents 38% of the adolescence aged 12-17 residing in Kuala Lumpur. 
  • On the 24th of September, Twitter and other social media were filled with complaints from various parents complaining about waiting lines at PPVs in Klang Valley.

Vaccinating the Under-17s is not Child’s Play

The Deputy Health Minister I YB Datuk Dr. Noor Azmi Ghazali, who also chairs the Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force – Adolescent (CITF-A), in conjuncture with the Ministry of Education, announced that “the government will provide scheduled walk-in vaccinations for adolescents age 12 to 17 at 156 vaccinations centres (PPVs) nationwide beginning on the 23rd of September".

He added “All PPVs under Covid-19 Immunisation Task force (CITF) would cease operations on Oct 15. Hence, CITF-A has identified 156 PPVs nationwide during this transitional period to increase vaccination capacity for adolescents through walk-ins. But that begs the question, how are the 156 selected PPVs going to manage to vaccination 3,147,500 registered adolescent vaccinees?

If we consider Klang Valley for a moment, there are 9 operating PPVs identified for vaccinating adolescents:

Total Capacity | Last Date for Adolescents | Location 
1. 3,000 – 29th September – Dewan Sivik MBPJ, Petaling, Selangor
2. 5,000 – 30th September – Bangi Avenue Convention Centre, Hulu Langat, Selangor
3. 250 – 29th September – Hospital Orang Asli Gombak (HOAG), Gombak, Selangor
4. 1,000 – 30th September – UniKL British Malaysia Institute Centre, Gombak, Selangor
5. 1,800 – 29th September – Dewan Kompleks Sukan, Kuala Langat, Selangor
6. 2,000 – 29th September – Stadium Tertutup Kuala Selangor, Kuala Selangor, Selangor
7. 3,000 – 15th October – Multimedia University Cyberjaya (MMU), Cyberjaya, Selangor
8. 8,000 – 15th October – Axiata Arena, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur
9. 3,300 – 30th September – Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur

Assuming 100% of the capacity is allocated to the vaccination of adolescents until the last day of vaccinations for adolescents, the total number of vaccinees for 12 to 17 in Klang Valley will be equivalent to 286,700, broken down into Dewan Sivik MBPJ (12,000), Bangi Avenue Convention Centre (25,000), Hospital Orang Asli Gombak (1,000), UniKL British Malaysia Institute Centre (5,000), Dewan Kompleks Sukan, Majlis Perbandaran Kuala Langat (7,200), Multimedia University Cyberjaya (60,000), Axiata Arena Bukit Jalil (160,000), Universiti Malaya (16,500).

Vaccination Rate by States
Source: covidnow.moh.gov.my

Extrapolating data from the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) statistics, there are approximately 754,000 adolescents aged 12-17 residing in Klang Valley. So while on the surface, 286,700 seems like a good chunk, it still only represents 38% of the adolescence aged 12-17 residing in Kuala Lumpur. To further make the seemingly complex task even more complex, according to COVIDNOW, the MOH website for Covid-19 data, approximately there is roughly 3,154,000 adolescence to be vaccinated. But with the bulk of the PPVs ending their adolescence vaccine program on the 30th of September, and closing on the 5th of October, the lingering question is, can the remaining adolescence vaccinated by the 10th of November, 2021, and can outreach programs and Klinik Kesihatan’s bear the patient load?

Source; covidnow.moh.gov.my

YB Datuk Dr. Noor Azmi Ghazali explained to the press that CITF’s decision to cease operations of the PPVs by October 15th was made after careful consideration as the vaccination rates amongst the fully-vaccinated adult population in Klang Valley is at 82.5% of the targeted population (or 66.0% of the total adult population of Malaysia) and shall reach 80% of the total adult population by the 30th of October. This is turn has led to the drop in the number of adult recipients at public and integrated PPVs nationwide.

Hence, during the transitional period, CITF-A will utilize the 156 identified PPVs nationwide to increase vaccination capacity for adolescents through appointments and walk-in, and after which, second doses for adolescent vaccinees will be moved to outreach programs in schools and selected Klinik Kesihatan.

On the 24th of September, Twitter and other social media were filled with complaints from various parents complaining about waiting lines at PPVs in Klang Valley. YB Khairy Jamaluddin, the Health Minister, offered an apt explanation explaining that the confusion occurred due to “vaccination centres (PPV), district health offices (PKD) and district education offices (PPD) involved in the implementation of the vaccination program for adolescents issuing different sets of instructions and standard operating procedures (SOPs)". But can there be more to this than a walk-in or appointment confusion, could the hordes of parents wanting their children to be vaccinated before the 30th of September deadline be part of the reason for the potential clusters?

Source: covidnow.gov.com.my

With millions of adolescence yet to be vaccinated, certainly, there may be a need to extend the PPVs up till 80% of adolescence are vaccinated before pivoting to outreach and in-clinic strategies. The extension of all of the Klang Valley PPVs till the 15th of October will complete another 252,300 vaccines for the adolescence cohort. Essentially, every day, Klang Valley can vaccinate up to 27,350 adolescence aged 12-17.

The vaccination of adolescents is no child’s game. The right strategies and proper delivery methods should be employed without creating chaos amongst the parents and their children. Reports of hundreds, if not, thousands, of parents and children lining up outside PPVs, and then to be turned away at the end of the day is certainly disheartening for the government, parents, and PPVs and their operators, and most importantly, the children, who are waiting to restart their lives by, at the very least, going back to school.

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