The Malaysian government is targeting to ramp up the inoculation of eligible children this year to counter the rising number of deaths caused by Covid-19.
According to a report by The Straits Times, the Malaysian Health Ministry aims to complete Covid-19 inoculation for 80 percent of eligible children before the incoming school year in 2022.
This as statistics showed that there was an increasing trend of infections among children aged 18 years and below, while the sharp rise in deaths among this age group was also of concern.
Thus, the Health Ministry said at least 60 percent of children aged between 12 and 17 should be inoculated with at least one dose by November 2021, while 80 percent should already receive their second doses before the resumption of school next year.
“The statistics showing an increasing trend of infections among children (0 to 18 years old) in Malaysia is worrying,” Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah was quoted as saying in a statement on Monday.
“Also of concern are the death statistics, where 67 deaths among children have been reported in 2021 up to Sept 19, compared to six deaths in 2020,” he added.
Abdullah said that the efforts will ensure that the risk of infection in schools can be reduced and 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,” he said.
“Accordingly, parents and guardians are advised to register their eligible children through their respective educational institutions and through the MySejahtera app immediately,” he added, referring to the mobile application developed by the Malaysian government to facilitate contact tracing during the pandemic.
Abdullah advised parents and caregivers to look out for side effects among children after their jabs, saying that like other medicines, the Covid-19 vaccine also comes with side effects but is usually mild and self-limiting.
He said side effects to look out for include possible pain and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, and fever; as well as inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) and pericarditis, although these are very rare.
He said that myocarditis and pericarditis would usually occur after receiving the second dose, or a few days after vaccination. He said, however, that these incidents are more common in male children.