mRNA vaccine is also proven to be effective and safe for children, says health expert
by AUFA MARDHIAH / Pic by BERNAMA
PARENTS should seek experts’ views on vaccinating their children aged between five and 11 to get the right information and not be dissuaded by external factors.
Health experts told The Malaysian Reserve that the Covid-19 vaccine for kids is generally safe and with minimal or no side effects at all.
Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association president Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar noted that the mRNA vaccine is also proven to be effective and safe for children.
“In the US, the myocarditis and pericarditis after vaccination only occur in the older group due to the body’s immune system that causes inflammation in response to an infection or some other trigger.
“The experts suggest that the government implement a close monitoring of the adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) and regulate with the public to educate parents to be more sensitive and aware of their child’s condition after getting the vaccine,” Dr Zainal Ariffin said.
He admitted that parents in Malaysia are still sceptical of the children’s vaccination programme but he suggested that parents consider it for the sake of their children’s health.
“Even though there are reservations and scepticism regarding the vaccination programme for children 5-12 years old, parents are encouraged to seek expert’s opinion on whether their child’s need to get vaccinated or not depending on the situation.
For instance, if the child is exposed to bigger social interaction therefore it is advisable to get vaccinated to keep them safe. But if the family lives in an area where not much infection occurs then it may not be necessary for the child to be vaccinated,” he added.
The National Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids) requires children to get two doses of injections within an eight weeks interval after the first dose. According to the Ministry of Health, the latest data obtained shows that eight weeks of interval between two doses given will affect the immune response and a higher rate of efficacy and the potential to provide longer protection.
Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali announced yesterday that PICKids will be implemented in schools nationwide starting Monday.
To date, there have been no reports of AEFI among the over 41,000 children vaccinated nationwide.
ProtectHealth Corp Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Dr Anas Alam Faizli meanwhile recommends children aged 5-11 take the Covid-19 vaccination, especially those with underlying medical conditions who are at an increased risk for severe illness.
“Covid-19 vaccine for children has been tested to be effective and safe. It has been registered and evaluated in terms of its quality, safety and efficacy by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency. Hence, approved in early January 2022 for kids between five to below 12 years old,” said Dr Anas.
He insisted that parents have the right to give mandatory consent before their child is vaccinated.
“Information regarding the vaccine’s efficacy, safety and possible adverse reactions should be clearly explained to the adolescents and their parents or caregivers prior to the vaccination. Therefore, parents or guardians have the authority to sign the informed consent to their child or dependents under 18 years old for vaccination,” he added.
Reuters previously reported around 517,000 children in Malaysia have registered for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
In the past six months, a total of 147,282 children aged 5-11 have been infected with the virus and 26 deaths were reported.