KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 — Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist Assoc Professor Dr Norazah Zahari said that more children are being hospitalised for Covid-19 as the highly contagious Delta variant becomes more dominant in Malaysia.
In a report by The Star, she said that more children have been coming in the last two months with Covid-19 symptoms, necessitating the expansion from one ward for Covid-19 child patients to a whole floor in the children's building at University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).
“We did have a few cases, about two or three cases, which needed ICU admission.
“(The kids) suffered from complications to the heart from the Covid-19 infection,” she said.
She added that of those cases, one of them was confirmed as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
She explained that MIS-C is a serious complication of Covid-19 and is characterised by inflammation in multiple organs such as the heart, lungs, blood vessels and kidneys, adding that although children who contract Covid-19 are less likely to have severe symptoms, they are not immune to the disease.
The Star reported that experts have raised concerns over this “pandemic of the unvaccinated”, with Assoc Professor Dr Mas Ayu, an epidemiologist at University of Malaya saying that when there is a pocket of people who cannot get vaccinated, they are very vulnerable.
“If you don’t have antibodies at all, it’s much easier (to get infected), like you’ve opened the gate so they’re just coming in,” she told The Star.
The number of cases involving children and the emergence of the fast-spreading Delta variant has prompted calls from state health authorities and medical experts for the government to begin inoculating adolescents.
On August 15, then-coordinating minister of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin announced that vaccination for all children between the ages of 12 to 17 would start from September 15.
He said priority would be given to those with comorbidities and older schoolchildren before the younger ones are vaccinated.