KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — A total of 410,762 children in Malaysia, aged 17 and below, contracted Covid-19 this year, compared to 12,620 children in 2020, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).
During a media sharing session today, MoH and its representatives said that due to the increasing trend of Covid-19 infections among children, the public should not assume that vaccinating adults will adequately protect children.
“I think it has to do with the Delta variant. We assume the Delta variant is (currently) the dominant variant,” said Dr Nik Khairulddin Nik Yusoff, an infectious diseases paediatrician working at Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital in Kota Baru.
“It is not enough to say that if we vaccinate enough adults, we are going to be protecting our children — not with this Delta variant that we are seeing right now,” he added.
Deputy Health director-general Datuk Dr Hishamshah Mohd Ibrahim, who was also present, said that new information surrounding the disease is pushing health experts to change their initial presumptions, such as that children will not need to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The experts were responding to a question on whether Malaysia will follow a trend seen in the United States where Covid-19 infection rates among children dropped in tandem with infection rates among adults.
The National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, which initially only covered adults aged 18 above, started including adolescents from the ages 12 to 17 as of September 20.