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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 -- Adolescents with underlying medical conditions or comorbidities must be prioritised in the vaccination exercise against COVID-19 as they are at high risk of getting very ill from the viral infection.
A paediatrician from Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II, Dr Nik Khairulddin Nik Yusoff said there had been reports worldwide of some children and adolescents becoming very ill with COVID-19, with a few fatalities.
“Many of them had underlying chronic medical conditions that predisposed them to severe illness and were more likely to develop complications from COVID-19 including the risk of developing a rare, but serious condition known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
However, he said the majority of adolescents contracting COVID-19 were without symptoms or had mild, self-limiting symptoms.
“Recently, the proportion of children and adolescents reported to have COVID-19 has increased, thus the decision to vaccinate these groups is very timely and must be accelerated,” he said in a virtual media briefing on the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK) and PICK for Adolescents, today.
As of Sept 21, the Ministry of Health (MOH) statistics showed that COVID-19 infections among children below 18 years in Malaysia rose from 12,620 cases in 2020 to 410,762 this year, while a total of 75 deaths among children were reported in 2021 so far compared to only six last year.
The PICK for Adolescents programme officially kicked off at the national level on Monday, aimed at vaccinating 3.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 against COVID-19 before the reopening of schools next month.
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