KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — The government has assured teachers today that they would be included in the first phase of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme ahead of schools reopening in March, with those exhibiting comorbidity amongst the priority recipients of the vaccine.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he would raise the matter during the next Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee (JKJAV) scheduled for next week following discussions with Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba and Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah earlier today.
“The short answer is yes. We will try to accommodate teachers and yes, we will try to accommodate some of the frontline media, subject to availability and supply but also based on risk assessment as we can’t do for all teachers at once.
“I will ask the Ministry of Education to give me a list of teachers with comorbidities as the first priority ahead of schools opening in March.
“I think that is a fair request from them,” he said during a press conference.
Comorbidities are the presence of two or more diseases in the same person such as kidney disease, heart disease, obesity and hypertension that puts them at an increased risk of severe illness.
Khairy also disclosed that his ministry has been receiving numerous requests from many groups to be included in the first phase of the vaccination programme, with those from the teaching profession expressing a reasonable enough request for consideration.
He stressed that the government was facing constraints due to insufficient supplies meant for distribution in the first phase as around 500,000 frontliners from the health and non-health sectors have been registered.
Yesterday, the Education Ministry announced that Malaysian students are expected back in classrooms under the new normal from the beginning of March.
In a special press conference, he explained that preschools and those in Standard 1 and 2 would resume in-person classes on March 1, while those in Standard 3 to 6 would do so on March 8.
As for secondary schools categorised under Group A, which consists of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, they will commence on April 4, he added. All remaining states, categorised under Group B, will begin on April 5.
Malaysia received its first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine earlier today after months of anticipation.
The first batch of the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine developed by United States pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech comprises a total of 312,390 doses.
The first phase of the immunisation programme, which is until April, will involve frontliners, followed by the second phase, which is from April to August, for high-risk groups, namely senior citizens aged 60 years and above and the vulnerable group with morbidity problems as well as Persons with Disabilities.
The third phase, which is from May until February next year, is for those aged 18 and above.