As of 2pm yesterday, 666 children aged five to 11 had been administered with the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on the first day of the Sultanate’s National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme for the age group.
This was highlighted by Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar at the daily press conference yesterday.
“Alhamdulillah, the COVID-19 vaccination for children aged five to 11 commenced nationwide today with the aim of protecting children from severe symptoms of COVID-19,” he said, adding that the vaccination of children in the age group is voluntary, “at the request and consent of parents or guardians”.
“Parents and guardians are welcome to bring their children to get immunised at vaccination centres by booking a slot through the BruHealth app. As such, the public, especially parents and guardians, is reminded to complete the authentication process for their children’s accounts on the app in preparation for vaccination.
“Completing the COVID-19 vaccination schedule will not be a requirement for children to attend school, enter any premises or participate in any activities.”
Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham and Deputy Minister of Education Datin Seri Paduka Dr Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh visited the Indoor Stadium Vaccination Centre in support of the start of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme for Children aged five to 11.
The minister took a closer look at the workflow for children vaccination from the registration process to vaccination, post-vaccination observation until they leave the vaccination centre.
In his message to parents who have yet to bring their children for the vaccination, he said, “Vaccination for children five to 11 is voluntary. We have provided the required information to the public. Therefore we would like parents to make their own judgement on whether to vaccinate their children.
“The vaccine is not a passport to attend school or to enter business premises. It is a way for us to protect the children from severe symptoms of COVID-19. As I mentioned before, COVID-19 in the initial phase did not affect many children. But as the variant evolved, especially Omicron, we have seen more children affected. There are also affected children who develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Fortunately, the case number is still low.”
Nine-year-old Joshua Davidson was one of the first to be vaccinated yesterday. “I felt good after the vaccination and I can’t wait to go back to school. I was a bit nervous before the vaccination. It was not as painful as I had thought – it felt like a pinch.”
His mother Kirsten from Scotland said, “I think the vaccine can help protect my child from COVID-19.”
She added, “We were concerned as my son has a congenital heart defect. We wanted to ensure that he is protected from COVID-19 because we know he is vulnerable. We also want to travel back home. My family has been fully vaccinated.”
Meanwhile, Pengiran Norannie bin Pengiran Haji Petra brought both her children – 10-year-old Nur Aleesya Sharini Masrayini binti Mohd Ali and eight-year-old Mohd Nur Emeriz Sharil – to get inoculated.
Pengiran Norannie said, “I feel it is safe for our children to get vaccinated so they can be protected from the coronavirus. I had been waiting for the children vaccination programme since last year.
“I would also like to thank the government especially the Minister of Health, for prioritising people’s health by ensuring we are protected from COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, Johnny Ong said, “I understand that many parents worry about the vaccine’s side effects. However, I am more worried about my children getting infected with COVID-19.”
His daughter Abby said, “The jab wasn’t painful. It was very fast.”
Permanent Secretary at the MoH Haji Maswadi bin Haji Mohsin, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional) at the MoH Dr Ang Swee Hui, Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary (Policy and Management) at the MoH Dr Hajah Anie Haryani binti Haji Abdul Rahman, Director General of Medical and Health Services at the MoH Pengiran Dr Haji Mohd Khalifah bin Pengiran Haji Ismail and senior officials were also present.
For information on the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme for children aged five to 11, the public can contact Talian Darussalam at 123 or visit www.moh.gov.bn.
The MoH has procured 100,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for children, which are more than sufficient for all children aged five to 11 in the Sultanate.