Rise in cases among kids under 12 worries parents
They are concerned their children will fall ill and also infect other family members
With the recent increase in Covid-19 infections among children under 12 years old, Madam Siti Zurina Saidi is anxious about letting her six-year-old son attend kindergarten.
If the boy tests positive for the virus, her 76-year-old father and 68-year-old mother - who live with the family in a five-room flat in Choa Chu Kang - will also be at risk.
Madam Zurina, 41, her husband and parents are all fully vaccinated, and her father received his booster shot a few days ago.
In recent weeks, parents of children under 12 have been worried about the surge in Covid-19 cases among young children.
So far, none of the Covid-19 vaccines available in Singapore has been approved for use in children under 12.
ST spoke to seven parents and they all said they were concerned about their children falling ill and spreading the virus to other family members.
In the past week, clusters have emerged at LearnJoy Education Centre, a tuition centre in Bedok North, and the My Little Campus pre-school in Yishun.
On Wednesday, 85 of the 1,453 local cases reported were children under 12.
Since Sept 15, 492 out of the 8,201 local cases, or about 5.9 per cent, have been children under 12, based on data gleaned from the Health Ministry's daily updates.
There are now 88 children in hospital with Covid-19, but no child has needed intensive care or oxygen supplementation.
Parents said the situation has been complicated by the coming year-end examinations.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) said last Saturday that all primary schools will switch to full home-based learning for Primary 1 to 5 pupils from next Monday to Oct 6.
Madam Zurina said official guidelines for pupils are now not as clear as they had been in the past.
Pharmaceutical firm Pfizer-BioNTech on Monday said its Covid-19 vaccine has been proven to be effective for children aged five to 11.
But Health Minister Ong Ye Kung has said that vaccination for this age group is likely to start only next year, after trials are completed.
ST checked with several pre-schools and tuition centres and found that attendance has been unaffected so far.
Ms Evelyn Tay, chief operating officer and group human resources director at EtonHouse International Education Group, said many of the EtonHouse pre-schools continue to have full attendance.
Ms Tay said that to reassure parents, open communication and consistency in practice are key. "We diligently update our community on the common outbreaks in the school. If anyone in the class receives a quarantine order, he is immediately isolated and parents of children in the same class are informed."