PETALING JAYA: More than 50,000 children aged below 12 in the country have been infected by Covid-19 since January, says the Health Ministry.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said of the 50,826 cases involving children, 50,674 (99.7%) were Category 1 and 2 infections.
There are 120 cases in Category 3, 28 in Category 4 and four in Category 5.
Dr Noor Hisham said the daily Covid-19 bed usage pattern among children under 12 years have shown to be increasing, in line with the rise in Covid-19 cases in the country.
“The increase is seen more significantly in February, especially for cases in Category 2 to Category 5.
“This is probably due to transmission of the Omicron variant as well as increased movement of children following the reopening of schools and child care centres,” he said in a statement on Sunday (Feb 20).
Dr Noor Hisham said although Covid-19 infection in children is usually less severe compared to adults, there are cases that require hospitalisation and some in intensive care.
“Multi System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a critical condition that could occur due to Covid-19 infection, in which there is inflammation of internal organs, especially the heart, lungs, and brain.
“From June 2020 to December 2021, there were 174 cases of children under 18 who suffered from MIS-C, of which 57% are below 12.
“To date, seven children have died due to MIS-C,” said Dr Noor Hisham, adding that children who are infected with Covid-19 are also at risk of suffering from long Covid.
Commenting further, Dr Noor Hisham said the main way to reduce the risk of MIS-C is for children to get vaccinated.
“The Comirnaty vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech has been approved to be used for vaccinating kids aged five to 11 in Malaysia.
“Based on clinical studies, the effectiveness of this vaccine is at 91% and is able to increase one’s immunity towards Covid-19, thus reducing the risk of suffering from severe Covid-19,” said Dr Noor Hisham.