Vaccination for children aged between 6 months and 4 years to be ready by year end
Covid-19 vaccination for children aged between six months and four years will be ready towards the fourth quarter of this year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday (July 25).
"MOH is currently doing the necessary preparation to roll out Covid-19 vaccines for young children aged between six months and four years old. We aim to have it ready towards the fourth quarter of the year," said a spokesman for the ministry.
This comes after two children under four years old were reported to have died from Covid-19 over the past two months.
MOH said the rate at which children aged four and below are dying because of Covid-19 is comparable to other infectious diseases, such as pneumonia and influenza.
As at July 23, there were two Covid-19 deaths among children aged under four, said MOH.
"This translates to three deaths per 100,000 cases (for children under four), compared to 99 deaths per 100,000 cases for the 40 and above age group this year," added the ministry.
MOH said: "Before Covid-19, in 2018 and 2019, MOH recorded 3.1 deaths of children (aged under four) per 100,000 person-years from pneumonia and influenza.
"We have used 2018 and 2019 as a comparison as the public health measures rolled out during the Covid-19 pandemic have significantly reduced the numbers for pneumonia and influenza."
Children under four years old are much more resilient than older patients, but more vulnerable compared to older children and young adults, MOH added.
Of the 1.7 million Covid-19 cases reported since the start of the pandemic, about 64,000, or 3.9 per cent, were children under five years old, MOH said.
It said the large majority of these 64,000 children recover uneventfully at home, with 0.022 per cent requiring oxygen supplementation or hospitalised in the intensive care unit (ICU).
In comparison, 0.17 per cent of patients in the 40 and above age group require ICU care.
The incidence rate of ICU care among the 5-39 group is almost negligible, MOH added.
Said MOH: "There is currently no clear evidence that Omicron variants cause more severe disease."
Severe cases among those aged four and below have been lower at 12 per 100,000 cases in 2022 compared to 41 per 100,000 cases last year, it noted.