67 children dying due to Covid-19 this year compared to 6 deaths in 2020, the Malaysian Health Ministry aims to complete Covid-19 inoculation for 80 percent of eligible children before school reopens in 2022.
Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said the statistics showing an increasing trend of infections in children below 18 years old was worrying, while the sharp rise in deaths among this age group was also of concern.
Tan Sri Noor Hisham said that with the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for teenagers having kicked off on Monday, the Health Ministry is targeting vaccinations for children within the adolescent group aged between 12 and 17, in preparation for a secure return to high school.
“This effort is to make sure the danger of infection in schools is often reduced and successively prevent the occurrence of cases and clusters in schools.
“The Drug Control Authority (DCA) has given conditional approval for all adolescents aged 12 years and above to be vaccinated.
“Accordingly, parents and guardians are advised to register their eligible children through their respective educational institutions and thru the MySejahtera app immediately,” he said, pertaining to the mobile app developed by the Malaysian government to facilitate contact tracing during the pandemic.
Dr Noor Hisham advised parents and caregivers to seem out for side effects among the young ones following their jabs, saying that like other medicines, the Covid-19 vaccine also comes with side effects, but that they’re usually mild and self-limiting.
Things to seem out for include possible pain and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, and fever; also as inflammation of the guts (myocarditis) and pericarditis, although these are very rare.
He said that myocarditis and pericarditis would usually occur after receiving the second dose; or a couple of days after vaccination which these incidents are more common in male children.
“However, the danger of myocarditis and pericarditis is less than the danger for heart inflammation caused by Covid-19, which is 37 times higher.
“Parents got to monitor for early symptoms like pain, difficulty breathing, and rapid heartbeat after the kid has received the vaccination.
“Supervision should even be done in order that the children don’t engage in strenuous activities within every week after vaccination,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham advised parents and guardians with questions on the immunization for adolescents to consult a pediatrician or a qualified medical officer.