KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — Malaysia recorded a 25-fold increase in Covid-19 infections among those aged below 18 this year to 310,074 cases as of August 30, from 12,620 cases last year.
According to Ministry of Health (MOH) data, 106,823 coronavirus cases were recorded among children aged seven to 12 years this year, the highest compared to other age groups under 18, followed by 13- to 17-year-olds with 89,087 cases, four years and younger with 81,168 infections, and five- to six-year-olds with 32,996 infections.
Coronavirus-related deaths among children under 18 rose seven-fold from six cases last year to 41 this year up to August 30.
The highest number of Covid-19 fatalities this year among those aged below 18 were reported in those aged 13 to 17 with 16 cases, followed by children aged four years and under with 15 cases and children aged seven to 12 with nine cases. One death was reported in the five-to-six age group.
The Covid-19 mortality rate in children in 2020 was 0.05 per cent, higher than the mortality rate of 0.01 per cent this year due to the sheer number of infections compared to last year.
“Rise in death numbers in children due to the volume of cases in children. Mortality is lower.
We must keep numbers down to prevent children’s ICUs (intensive care units) from being overrun. Delta may change mortality rates,” senior paediatrician Dr Amar-Singh HSS told CodeBlue.
“Indonesia had higher mortality recently in children when access to health services was limited. We need to prevent this.”
Sarawak state minister Dr Sim Kui Hian said earlier today that the state would begin its adolescent vaccination programme with 16- to 17-year-olds before inoculating 12- to 15-year-olds against Covid-19. About 29 per cent of Sarawakians are aged below 18.
The housing and local government state minister also said Sarawak would probably eventually vaccinate children aged three to 11, as he urged the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) to expedite approval for this age group.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said yesterday that he has targeted rolling out Covid-19 vaccines for children aged 12 to 17 this month and that the government was awaiting sufficient safety data from vaccine developer Pfizer on its jab for children aged below 12.