Vaccinating children is necessary


DEBATE over whether children should be vaccinated has come up after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for those aged between 12 and 15 years. Trials on vaccines for children above six months are also underway, and it is likely that these will be declared effective and safe as well.

A few parties, including medical experts, are against vaccination for children, saying they have low risk of hospitalisation and death. This argument seems warranted but, unfortunately, that’s not the only factor to consider when contemplating vaccination for children.

For one, children do get sick with Covid-19. They can also suffer from long Covid, which is characterised by fatigue, muscle aches and abnormality in temperature. If there is a safe and effective vaccine to prevent them from contracting acute Covid-19 and long Covid, they should have it.

Secondly, children are part of the coronavirus transmission chain. Studies that show children have a very low risk of spreading the virus to others are unrealistic.

Any country that aims to achieve herd immunity must include children in their vaccination programme. They may not be a priority at this stage but if we want schools to reopen safely in the future, children should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

DR CHIEW KEAN SHYONG

Penang

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