While Singapore has reached a very high vaccination rate, there remains a significant group who’re still unvaccinated: children below 12.
Some parents might worry that these vulnerable members of society might be more susceptible to Covid-19, especially the Delta variant.
Perhaps that’s why Singapore’s now considering giving the Pfizer vaccine to children aged 5-11.
For those afraid they can’t take it, the dosage given to them will be reduced to one-third of the adult’s dose.
In a news release on Monday (8 Nov), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said the extension of vaccination to children was being assessed by the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination (EC19V).
By doing so, the young ones will get protection against infection and severe illness.
Also, this will make it easier for them to take part in more activities in school next year, leading to a “richer educational experience”.
During a Multi-Ministry Task Force (MTF) press conference on Monday (8 Nov), Health Minister Ong Ye Kung also spoke about vaccination for this age group.
He said the EC19V had determined that it’s beneficial for those aged 5-11 to get vaccinated.
The committee will make a recommendation on whether to do it in the second half of Nov.
Once they give it the go-ahead, MOH will push ahead to vaccinate children, the minister said, adding,
This is so that parents have the added assurance and peace of mind that their children can become protected.
When children aged 5-11 are vaccinated, the only unvaccinated portion of Singapore’s population will be very young kids below 5 – as well as those who chose not to be vaccinated.
Minister Ong added that Covid-19 has a less severe effect on this age group, but MOH is monitoring whether vaccines are suitable for them or not.
The move comes after the United States (US) Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved the Pfizer vaccine for children from 5-11.
Noting the US approval, Minister Ong said Pfizer recommended that this age group get a reduced dosage, adding,
The study in the US concluded that vaccination for this group is safe and effective based on this reduced dosage of the adult formulation of the vaccine.
Hence, they should get one-third of an adult’s dosage – but they’ll still need to get 2 separate doses.
On our end, MOH will conduct a study with a few hundred children.
This will enable us to gauge how suitable a smaller dosage will be for our kids.
They’ll also find a way to administer the jab smoothly.
Currently, children below 12 are exempted from vaccination-differentiated measures at places like malls and F&B outlets.
However, once vaccination is rolled out for those aged 5-11, that won’t apply anymore.
Children of those ages who choose not to be vaccinated will thus be subject to restrictions like dining in, Minister Ong said.
While the impact of Covid-19 on children in Singapore has been mild so far, a few have had more severe cases.
This includes a 4-year-old still in the children’s intensive care unit (CICU) due to a rare inflammatory syndrome linked to Covid-19.
Thus, parents might welcome the rollout of vaccines for their children to protect them from the disease better.
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Featured image adapted from Parkway East Hospital.
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