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By Ling Hui
KUCHING, Sept 22: Children contracting Covid-19 should be treated as a serious concern as, like other viral diseases such as Hepatitis B, chickenpox, and measles, it may lead to certain life-threatening health conditions in adulthood.
State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian said though it is unknown how Covid-19 could affect children in the long-term as Covid-19 has only been identified in the past two years, prevention is still better than cure.
“It is best for us to be cautious and protect our children from Covid-19 to avoid all possible negative health impacts,” he asserted.
Like adults, Dr Sim added, children who recover from the virus infection could get long Covid as well, which often presents itself as a persistent sense of ill-health, fatigue and difficulty in maintaining focus or thinking.
“Children may be at low risk, but they are not at zero risk! Covid-19 could kill children and teenagers, particularly those (who) have medical conditions or are overweight.
“They may not recover from Covid-19 fully, smoothly and quickly,” he said in a social media post last night (Sept 21).
Dr Sim, who is also Minister for Local Government and Housing, thus urged adults and parents to be responsible in protecting children who have yet to be vaccinated, by first protecting themselves.
While Covid-19 vaccination is essential, compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) such as wearing face masks correctly especially at workplaces and public areas is the way to avoid bringing the virus back home, he added.
This is one of the ways, other than vaccination, to fight Covid-19 including Delta and other emerging variants in the State, by decreasing viral load, severity and transmission in the community.
Meanwhile, Dr Sim urged Malaysian experts from National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) to request for scientific data from vaccine manufacturers as soon as possible to facilitate decisions as to whether the Sinovac and Pfizer vaccines are safe for children aged below 11.
He also welcomed recent medical research publications on Sinovac for above three-year-olds and Pfizer for above five-year-olds.
In the meantime, Sarawak will be the first State in Malaysia to vaccinate adolescents and children between 12 and 17-years-old, but only with Pfizer vaccines.
The Sarawak government aims to finish inoculating those aged 16 and 17 before schools reopen on Oct 3. — DayakDaily