KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — The vaccination rate for kids below the age of 11 is low with daily Covid-19 continue to increase, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today issue a plea with parents to get their children vaccinated before April 1.
He said the ministry had sent 1.63 million vaccination appointments under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids) but only 1 million had turned up until February 3, 2022.
He reminded parents that kids have a higher chance of getting infected by the Omicron variant compared to previous variants.
He said at the moment there are too many kids who are exposed and not immunised compared to the adults.
During the movement control order (MCO), children stayed at home and did not have natural immunisation as they were not exposed to the outside.
He said the risk of getting infected increases if they have comorbidities or illnesses like asthma as studies have shown if infected it causes their asthma to act up causing breathlessness.
Khairy said in 2020 there were 7730 infections among kids but in 2021 it rose to 379,245.
This year alone from January till mid-February 50,826 kids were infected.
He said it was even more from February till March with 68,893 infections.
“So from January till March this year we have a total of 119,719 infections among kids this is because schools have reopened and they are being exposed,” said Khairy during a live telecast from Parliament.
“I’m disappointed that the vaccination rate for children is only at 30 per cent. The usage of beds at paediatric clinics has increased but parents are still apprehensive to get their children vaccinated.
“I feel the time to wait and see is over. We started PICKKids for a while now and I want to assure you the vaccine is safe and protects you from getting worse diseases or worse getting admitted to hospital.
“So parents please get your children vaccinated at least before April 1.”
As for children below the age of five, Khairy said they are still looking at clinical studies and the relevant agencies are evaluating the situation.
For the time being no vaccines exist for children that age.
Yesterday Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Malaysia was in the beginning process of transitioning into the endemic phase beginning April 1.
International borders would be reopened and tourists can start visiting Malaysia.
However SOPs such as face masks in public and registering entries with MySejahtera are still in effect.