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MoH urges parents to vaccinate children in light of Omicron risks

James Kon & Azlan Othman

Parents have been urged to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19 after some have experienced health complications after being infected with the Omicron variant.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said it is unlike earlier cases of infection, where children did not show any symptoms.

For the Omnicron variant, he said children typically exhibited mild symptoms, but some may experience more severe effects.

“Omicron affects children, even though it is milder in scale, we should be well-aware of this,” he said.

Since February, eight children aged two months to 10 have been found with health complications after being infected with COVID-19.

Six were diagnosed with Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome (MISC), of which four experienced severe symptoms that required intensive care.

MISC causes inflammation in organs and blood vessels, which could lead to myocarditis, said the minister.

It also leads to low blood pressure, requiring medication to stabilise, he said, adding that the functions of the liver, kidneys and bone marrow were also affected.

“One child needed surgery on the abdomen area,” he said.

Meanwhile, two other children, both under the age of one, were not diagnosed with MISC, but still needed intensive care.

The minister said in light of the risk of health complications due to COVID-19, parents should consider immunising their children eligible for the programme.

Meanwhile, the country recorded 159 COVID-19 cases yesterday – 145 from antigen rapid tests and 14 from 732 RT-PCR laboratory tests performed in the past 24 hours, said Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham.

This brought the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 140,182.

The minister said no cases are in Category 5 while one case is in Category 4, requiring oxygen assistance and close monitoring.

The minister said 290 cases have recovered, bringing the number of recoveries to 138,693 and the number of active cases to 1,271. Forty-four active cases are being treated in hospitals while 1,227 are undergoing self-isolation.

The country’s vaccination rate remained unchanged from yesterday, said the minister, as vaccination centres were not open.

Around 26.1 per cent of children five- to 11-years-old have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 62.8 per cent of the population have been boosted against the virus.