KUCHING: A recent court action filed in Penang which seeks to stop the government from vaccinating children under the age of 18 is a very ‘irresponsible and irrational’ act, said social activist Voon Shiak Ni.
“What is the public interest that the suit is driving at? Are they representing the voices of the majority?” she questioned yesterday.
She pointed out that there had been strong calls from the public demanding that the government approve and supply vaccines for children and to start vaccinating those under the age of 18.
“I believe it is only just and fair for everyone, old and young, to have accessibility to the vaccines as it is obvious that we cannot stop the spike in infections of the Delta variant and vaccination has proven to be able to protect the infected from severe symptoms and hospitalisation,” she said.
Stressing that vaccination was the only way to protect people from the onslaught of the Delta variant, she, therefore, said that stopping the government from providing vaccines to children was irresponsible to the community as a whole.
She also noted that children around the world were being vaccinated, citing that over 60 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 17 in France had been vaccinated so far.
Voon said the Delta variant had become the dominant strain in many countries and Sarawak was not spared, with this variant dominating almost 100 percent of infections statewide and daily cases reaching the thousands in recent weeks.
“It is obvious that we cannot stop the spread of the Delta infections and it is already everywhere in Sarawak. The only consolation is that most of the adult population in Sarawak are fully vaccinated,” she said.
She said that with the surge in Covid-19 infections across the globe due to the Delta variant, the young were more susceptible and vulnerable as they were not vaccinated.
She noted that in the United States of America (USA), thousands of children had been hospitalised, especially in Louisiana which is the epicentre for the Delta variant surge and a region with a low vaccination rate.
“Epidemiologists from the USA have issued warnings that it is not true anymore that children are less susceptible to Covid-19 infections with the Delta variant. Unvaccinated young people are extremely vulnerable now with the Delta surge.
“It is an irony that here in Malaysia, a court action has been filed in Penang to stop the government from vaccinating our teenagers under the age of 18,” she said.
Voon emphasised that now was the time to act with regard to vaccinating the young, as any vaccination delay might cost more lives as the virus rips through the population.
At the same time, she said the government had to be prepared to expand the space and public health facilities to accommodate for speedy treatment of Covid-19 patients in view of the swelling volume of infections.
It was reported that court action had been filed at the Penang High Court against the government, seeking to stop the vaccination of children under 18, pending the results of clinical trials on the controversial anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin which is used for humans and livestock.