PICKids: Get vaccinated, prevent critical illness – experts


KUALA LUMPUR – Children aged five to 11 years who are unvaccinated and infected with COVID-19, are at risk of serious complications such as Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) which involves various internal organs, most notably, the heart, lungs and brain.

To protect children from the adverse effects of the pandemic and to break the chain of infection of COVID-19, parents are advised to ensure that their children get vaccinated immediately through the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids).

Speaking to Bernama, Selayang Hospital Consultant Pediatrician and Pediatric Nephrologist Dr S. Selva Kumar said the concern of paediatricians at the moment was that many children had been infected with COVID-19 and were exposed to the risk of MIS-C.

“We at the hospital are also afraid if children have MIS-C. For example, last year, a paediatric patient suffered from MIS-C, his condition was serious and worrying and required intensive treatment (respirator and dialysis) until he recovered,” he said when contacted today.

Dr Selva, who is also the Head of the Pediatric Department at Selayang Hospital, said parents of children with chronic diseases were strongly advised to register their children for the COVID-19 vaccination immediately.

In line with this, Paediatric and Paediatric Infectious Diseases Consultant at the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital in Kota Bharu, Dr Nik Khairulddin Nik Yusoff said MIS-C also had the potential of causing long COVID-19 effects on infected children.

He said the COVID-19 vaccine was able to produce immunity in the child’s body and provide protection from the effects of the pandemic.

He said parents, as the first line of protection for their children, needed to play their role and take proactive measures to protect them from being exposed to the effects of the virus infection.

“Parents need to obtain the correct facts from authentic sources related to the vaccine to dismiss any doubts about the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.

Earlier, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah was reported to have said that from June 2020 to December last year, a total of 174 cases of children under 18 suffered from MIS-C due to COVID-19 infection, involving those under one year old with 24 cases, one to four years (38 cases), five to eight years (64 cases), nine to 11 years (36 cases) and 12 years and above (11 cases).

Meanwhile, parents have also shared the experience of getting their children vaccinated, and felt that vaccination was the best way to ensure that their children were protected from the adverse effects of the virus.

Private sector worker Sania Mohamad, 41, said her son volunteered to receive the vaccine on Jan 16, after noticing that other members of his family were in good condition after the dose.

“At first, after being vaccinated, he complained of some pain near the spot where he was injected, but at night, he could already go to play badminton,” said the mother of nine-year-old Wan Mohammad Aisy Aydan.

Another parent, Nasri Abd Hamid, 53, said it was difficult to get a vaccination date for his daughter Nur Putry Auddra due to the lack of slots, but finally managed to get a slot today (Feb 21).

As of Feb 19, a total of 454,194 individuals or 12.8 per cent of the population of children aged five to 11 in Malaysia had received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine through PICKids.