SINGAPORE: Singapore hopes to extend the Covid-19 national vaccination programme to children below the age of 12 in January next year, the health ministry said on Saturday.
Director of medical services at the ministry of health’s (MOH) Kenneth Mak, speaking at a multi-ministry task force press conference here, said that children below the age of 12 made up about 11.2 per cent of all Covid-19 cases.
Four weeks ago, it was 6.7 per cent, he said, noting that Singapore is seeing a rising “slow trend” for cases in this age group.
The proportion of cases of those between 12 and 20 years has not changed “in the same way”, Mak said, adding that it “continues to hover” between 4 and 5 per cent. “These children remain vulnerable because they are not yet eligible for vaccination to protect them from infection. And it’s generally harder to get them to comply with disciplined mask-wearing and safe separation and measures,” Channel News Asia quoted Mak as saying.
Many of these children have “mild infections”, but Singapore has seen a “small number” of children who need paediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for more severe infections or complications from the infection.
There were also a few cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) reported to the MOH, he said.
Earlier, four such cases had emerged among the more than 8,000 paediatric Covid-19 cases in Singapore since the start of the pandemic. All four children were admitted to hospital between October and November, and these cases are “considered rare”, the ministry had said.
Health authorities are working with the expert committee on Covid-19 vaccines to extend the national vaccination programme to cover children aged between five and 11 to reduce their risk of getting infected, said Mak.