KUALA LUMPUR – Evidence from clinical tests and real-world experience show that COVID-19 vaccinations are effective and safe for children and teens, the College of Pediatrics, Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (AMMCOP) said, reported Bernama.
The college announced that as of November 2021, more than 100 countries, including Malaysia, had begun or planned to expand COVID-19 vaccinations to children, beginning with teens aged 12 to 17.
The college added that it was collaborating with various experts from subspecialties of pediatrics and public health, and fully supports the government’s initiative to launch the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids).
It said that the COVID-19 pandemic was still spreading with the emergence of new variants such as Omicron, and that there was a need to maximise the protective benefits of vaccination to all ages, especially children.
“Based on the published safety profile and the growing evidence of the benefits of COVID-19 vaccinations, the college strongly recommends vaccinating children, especially the school-going age group of five years and older,” the college said in a statement on February 11.
As such, the college urged the government to ensure that the vaccination programme for children under the age of 12 in Malaysia is implemented carefully due to its importance, especially when the country is facing a rise in COVID-19-related deaths among children.
“This is because from July to December 2021, a total of 105 deaths were reported among children aged 0 to 17 years,” the statement, which was signed by seven pediatricians and an epidemiologist, read.
The signatories included Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Medical Centre’s Department of Pediatrics head Prof Dr Cheah Fook Choe; University of Malaya (UM) Medical Centre consultant pediatrician and clinical geneticist Prof Dr Thong Meow Keong; and UM epidemiologist Prof Dr Noran Naqiah Hairi.
Based on the Health Ministry’s COVIDNOW website, a total of 15.9% of children between five and 11 in the country have received their first COVID-19 vaccination shots as of February 21 under PICKids, which was launched on February 3.
For teens aged 12 to 17, 90%, have completed their vaccinations, while 92.8%, received at least one vaccination shot.
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