Nearly 17,000 Covid-19 Cases Among Under-12 Children Reported Last Week

Covid-19 cases among under-12 children saw a 160% increase from 6,524 cases in the fifth epidemiological week this year (EW5) to 16,959 cases in EW6.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 – Malaysia reported 16,959 Covid cases in children under 12 for the sixth epidemiological week (EW6) this year (February 6-12), a sharp rise of 160 per cent, or 10,435 cases, compared to 6,524 cases recorded in EW5 (January 30-February 5).

Of the 16,959 Covid cases reported in EW6 among children below 12 years of age, nearly two-thirds or 62.8 per cent involved children aged 5 to 11.

The current epidemiological week, as of February 15, has already seen 9,049 new Covid-19 infections reported among children below the age of 12, which Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin described as a “worrisome” development.

A total of three Covid deaths among children under-12 were also reported as of February 15 this year, involving two children below the age of 4 and one aged 5-11.

The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids) have so far received mixed responses from parents, with less than one million children registered for vaccination.

“For children under the age of 4, we still do not have any Covid vaccines approved for them anywhere in the world at the moment. But for children aged 5 to 11, there is a vaccine that has been approved and is currently being administered in Malaysia under PICKids.

“Public reception (to PICKids) is quite good but it is still low. Registrations are at less than a million. So, in view of this significant rise in Covid cases among our children, we hope that parents will come forward to allow their children to be vaccinated.

“Based on what we’ve seen, Covid vaccination in children does not result in any serious incidences of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). The AEFI reports that we’ve received involve only mild symptoms,” Khairy told a news conference in Putrajaya today.

Khairy said further details on the rate of Covid hospitalisation among under-12 children will be disclosed next week after clinical analysis on the cases are conducted.

Earlier today, Khairy indicated in a tweet, that field reports show that ethnic Chinese parents are more willing to vaccinate their children against Covid-19 than Malays.

The health minister highlighted that only 5 per cent of school children in a certain Chinese vernacular primary school, or SJKC, in Penang did not show up for their coronavirus vaccinations.

But in a nearby government primary school, which he did not name, the no-show rate for the children’s Covid-19 vaccine was a high 70 per cent.

In another tweet posted last week, Khairy acknowledged that less than 50 per cent of Malays in the country have received a Covid-19 booster dose.

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