KUCHING: The benefits of the Covid-19 vaccination outweigh the risks for children below 18 years old, said Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.
He said the federal government and the Special Committee on Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) should consider reversing their decision to withhold the immunisation of children between the ages of 12 and 17 in the country.
“The benefits of vaccination highly outweigh the risks, especially in view of the emerging variants of concern that are more transmissible being reported across the world, including the Delta, Lambda and Delta Plus variants.
“This is in view of the opening of schools in less than a month and the announcement by the prime minister on relaxing the movement restrictions, allowing fully vaccinated parents to travel across states to meet their children.
“While these parents may be vaccinated, they are travelling back to meet their children who are unvaccinated, which puts them at risk,” he said in a Facebook post.
Dr Yii said this might not only infect the children but also make them a conduit to spread the disease to others and even possibly develop new variants.
“Data has shown that children and particularly adolescents can play a significant part in Covid-19 transmission, especially to high-risk groups including grandparents and other family members with comorbidities.
“As we can see especially with the new variants, the disease pattern has changed and younger people are getting infected with Covid-19 even here in Sarawak.
“Some children develop more severe symptoms which, in some extreme cases, may even result in death,” he said.
The MP, who is a physician by training, said while there were concerns of side effects from mRNA vaccines such as myocarditis (heart inflammation) reported especially in the United States, these incidents were rare.
He said other vaccines besides mRNA including Sinopharm and Sinovac had also been tested in young people over the age of 12 and offered in other countries to the group.
“That is why I hope JKJAV will look through all the data again and realise that we need to protect our children even more.
“They consist of about 30 percent of our population and I strongly believe it is our responsibility to make sure they are protected as much as possible,” he said.