KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — Only one million children aged five to 11 have been vaccinated from the 1.63 million PICKids appointments sent since Feb 3, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said over 600,000 individuals have registered and received their appointments but failed to get vaccinated.
“COVID-19 vaccination for children aged five to 11 have just surpassed 30 per cent when cases among children are rising, we also see more hospitalisations, while admission to pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is increasing.
“Parents are still indecisive on giving protection to their children through children vaccination (PICKids). I feel the time to wait and see is over…we see vaccination is safe and gives protection to serious symptoms,” he said in a media conference at Parliament Building today.
He said children are more at high risk of being infected by the Omicron variant compared to the earlier variants as they are the most vulnerable group and have not received protection compared to vaccinated adults.
He said children with higher risk are those with comorbidity or those in high-risk children group (immunocompromised) such as having chronic lung disease, heart disease, weak body immune system, cancer, asthma, or being obese.
“The Omicron variant will cause the condition of the existing patient to worsen. As an example, a patient with asthma would experience severe breathlessness even though the category of COVID-19 infection is low,” he said.
Khairy said the total number of children under 11 years old who were infected with COVID-19 showed an increase from 7,730 cases in 2020 to 379,245 in 2021.
He said the total number of children patients under 12 years old infected with COVID-19 this year from January to date, is 119,719.
On the rate of children admission into PICU, he said admission of children for category three to five rose sharply, with 200 per cent for category four and 125 per cent for category five.