BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The health ministry plans to start administering COVID-19 vaccines to teenagers in the second week of November as about 20,000 adults’ second dose appointments have been rescheduled to accommodate the vaccine rollout for adolescents.

During the COVID press briefing on Thursday, Health Minister YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Isham Hj Jaafar said the government is hoping to inoculate all teenagers aged 12-17 within two weeks.

About 38,000 students have been identified to get their jabs through the education ministry.

He added that the ministry will segregate the vaccination of adults and teenagers, thus requiring the rescheduling of 19,973 adults’ second dose appointments at the Indoor Stadium.

“We don’t want to mix the teenagers with others, so the two weeks are prioritised for students,” the minister said.

A total of 10,860 second dose appointments will be brought forward to November 1-7, while another 9,113 appointments will be postponed to November 22-28.

The ministry assured the public that the changes were in line with COVID-19 vaccine administration protocols.

Brunei is still awaiting the arrival of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID vaccines, which have been authorised for use among teens.

Schools have started distributing vaccination consent forms to parents and guardians ahead of the vaccine drive for students.

Parents must also register their children under the BruHIMS patient management system for them to get jabbed.

The sultanate remains on track to hit its 80 percent double vaccination target by the end of this year, with 81.6 percent of the population having received at least one dose and 58.2 percent of residents are fully jabbed.

113 additional cases, three new clusters reported

The health ministry confirmed 113 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the overall tally to 12,823.

Another two new clusters have been linked to the migrant worker dormitories of HHY Construction and KYG Construction, while one new household cluster was also detected.

A 68-year-old COVID patient with pre-existing health issues was also reported to have died overnight. The man’s death was not attributed to the coronavirus.

COVID has claimed 53 lives in Brunei since the pandemic began, with 50 of the fatalities recorded in the ongoing second wave.

Twenty-eight people are receiving treatment at the National Isolation Centre’s intensive care unit.