17,699 children aged below 12 infected with Covid-19 since pandemic started, 2,586 hospitalised

More than 140,000 under the age of 12 have also gotten their first dose the vaccine. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A total of 17,699 children below the age of 12 have been infected with Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, with 2,586 hospitalised.

More than 140,000 under the age of 12 have also gotten their first dose of the vaccine, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post on Sunday (Jan 23).

"On average, about 6,000 children are vaccinated daily," he added.

Mr Ong's comments on Sunday came after Singapore's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said on Friday (Jan 21) that children aged below 12 are starting to make up the majority of Covid-19 cases that are admitted to hospitals.

Among 14,380 children below 12 years old infected with the disease from Oct 1, 2021 to Jan 16, 2022, four had severe infection needing either oxygen supplementation or intensive care unit (ICU) attention.

The KK Women's and Children's Hospital and the National University Hospital also reported that they are seeing more children with Covid-19 and non-Covid-19-related respiratory symptoms who require admission.

In his Facebook post, Mr Ong said: "Many countries are reporting spikes in children admission to hospitals due to Covid-19. Vaccination can prevent severe illnesses in children."

He added: "I have met parents who are worried about their children getting the jabs. They also understand the risks of infection, and are re-weighing the pros and cons."

In his Facebook post, Mr Ong included a table summarising the risks and benefits of vaccination for children.

The table shows that no serious complications from vaccination have been reported and confirmed locally so far, while there is a one in 1,000 incidence of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, a condition where the child's immune system overreacts after a Covid-19 infection, typically two to eight weeks later.

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