Dr Yii urges govt to vaccinate teens amidst concerns over severity, spread in wider population

Dr Kelvin Yii speaking in Parliament (file picture).

KUCHING, June 14: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii called on the government to include the vaccination for children aged 12 to 17 in order to protect the younger generation and arrest the spread of Covid-19 within the wider population.

Dr Yii, who is also the chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PCS) on health, science and innovation, said the recent statements by the minister and the director-general of Health regarding Covid-19 infections and their severity in children is indeed a cause of concern.

According to him, it was reported that 82,341 children had been infected with Covid-19 from January 25, 2020, until May 30, 2021, and 19,851 of those are under the age of five.

“There is growing evidence that children can suffer from Covid and be unwell for months after the infection, although, more data and research is indeed required to come up with a more comprehensive conclusion including determining the size and severity of this problem in children.

“While in most cases, the severity of symptoms in children are lesser, we cannot rule out the risk that children can and do spread the virus to adults which may have more devastating effects especially among the elderly. With the views of children being exposed in public areas such as schools once it opens, it is important that we find ways to protect them better,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Yii also believed that the Malaysian government can make the necessary arrangements to first open vaccination registration to children aged 12 to 18-years-old as soon as possible in preparation to vaccinate them after the high-risk groups in Phase 2 and economic front liners are mainly covered.

“We need to open registration early to educate the public on its importance and safety for children and make sure they register their children early.

“We cannot wait until the last minute as we will need to monitor registration rates and if needed, take the necessary interventions. If not, we may not achieve the needed herd immunity on time,” he added.

On top of that, Dr Yii pointed out, the government must be compassionate and provide some form of protection for the migrant community for them to step forward to be vaccinated.

“The harder the government clamps down on them, the more they will go into hiding. That is why this issue must be looked at through the lens of public health rather than of politics.

“The current hardline stance taken by the Home Minister (Dato Seri) Hamzah Zainuddin will just hinder the efforts by our healthcare officers and not only cause us not to achieve the necessary herd immunity, but also allow the outbreak to continue to damage even our local population or our country’s economy,” he opined. — DayakDaily