GEORGE TOWN: Despite certain fears about the side-effects of vaccinations, some parents are still sending their children for the jab so that their kids can continue outdoor activities without worrying about getting Covid-19.
Clerk Norhisyam Zamani, 41, who took his six-year-old daughter for her second dose at a local government clinic, said it was a “necessary evil” as his daughter would have a layer of protection from the virus.
“I understand the fears of giving your child vaccines that have only recently come out, but children are exposed more to germs and viruses as they are always touching things.
“This way, I know she is protected like I am as well,” he said when met at the clinic in George Town recently.
Norhisyam said his daughter, on the other hand, was excited about getting her jab.
“She doesn’t seem to be afraid of needles or injections, so she is happy to be here. She says it’s not painful,” he said.
Lim Chai Ling, 41, who works with an insurance agency, brought her five-year-old to the clinic for his first dose.
“He turned five two weeks ago, and we immediately registered him for the vaccine. We had to wait as the clinic needed to get 10 children registered before they could give the vaccine. I was concerned, as any mother would be, about giving him the vaccine, but his older sister appears to be fine after both doses. We don’t have much choice as children are susceptible to illnesses and it is important that he is protected as he goes to kindergarten.
“We have heard of many outbreaks at kindergartens and schools,” she said.
Lim said she would monitor her son to see if he felt well enough to go back to kindergarten.
State health director Datuk Dr Ma’arof Sudin said that 55% of children in Penang between the ages of five and 11 have been fully vaccinated through the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids).
“Although the number exceeds the national average, there are still many children who have not received their vaccinations. We encourage parents to make an appointment for their kids,” he said.
There are about 155,800 children aged five to 11 in Penang.
Penang health committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said PICKids is still ongoing, and vaccines for children are still available at specified government clinics for free.
“There are 19 government clinics offering the vaccines for children in the five districts of Penang.
“Appointments must be made before you bring your child for the vaccine,” she said, adding there are no plans to stop giving the vaccines for free for the time being.
The Association of Specialists in Private Medical Practice of Malaysia president Datuk Dr Balwant Singh Gendeh said giving children aged between 12 and 15 a booster dose was highly encouraged, especially if they were going to school.