GEORGE TOWN: The vaccination rate for children aged between five and 11 years old at private clinics here has been lukewarm.

O2 Klinik clinical operations manager Dr Ong Kong Seng said most parents probably had already brought their children for vaccination before the school holidays.

“We provide the self-purchase Sinovac vaccination for children.

“Parents can bring their kids and walk in to any of our clinics, but we encourage them to call and make an appointment first,” he said.

Dr Ong added that in line with the government’s announcement, the ceiling price for the Sinovac vaccine was RM77, excluding the service fees and the cost of disposable items for the vaccination process.

To ensure parents feel safer vaccinating their children, Dr Ong said O2 Klinik practises a high standard of precaution for all vaccinations.

“All children will be monitored closely by our doctors after their vaccination and prompt action will be taken if we detect any side effects from the vaccination,” he said.

A spokesperson from a clinic in Bayan Lepas said they had not received any vaccination appointment for children aged five to 11 since June 1.

“Our current arrangement is that we will do it on weekends if we manage to get 10 kids.

“So far, there are no kids who have signed up,” she said.

The same was reported at Klinik IMA in Penang with no appointment for vaccination for children for the time being.

The medical practitioner, however, encouraged parents who wanted the Sinovac vaccine for their children to make a booking first.

“We encourage parents to make an appointment so that we can ensure there is a ready supply of vaccines.

“Although we still offer vaccination for children, the demand is not as high as before,” she said, adding that it would cost RM88 for each dose of the vaccine.

Starting June 1, children who have not been vaccinated with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine will have to do it for a fee at private healthcare facilities.

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.

The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids) was initially slated to end on May 15 but was extended to May 31.

A check on the CovidNow website showed that only 48.9% of children aged five to 11 have received the first dose, while 34.1% have received the second dose.

In Penang, 53% of eligible children have received the first dose, while 42.5% have received the second.