4,500 children under five signed up for Covid-19 jabs on first day of registration

Parents with children aged six months to four years are encouraged to get them vaccinated. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - More than 4,500 children, aged between six months and four years, were signed up to receive their primary vaccination against Covid-19 on Tuesday, the first day registration opened for them, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

MOH added it was closely monitoring the take-up rate and that the children’s vaccination centres had adequate capacity to cater to the projected demand. Parents, whose children are aged six months to four years, are encouraged to get them vaccinated with two doses of Moderna’s Spikevax vaccine, so they are protected against severe disease and hospitalisation, MOH said. Tuesday was the first day parents and guardians could register their children.

The Moderna vaccine – which in August was approved for children aged between six months and 17 years – will be given in two shots of 25 micrograms each, administered at least eight weeks apart.

MOH said that Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty vaccine is expected to be available for young children by end of the year. Vaccinations for those under five will begin on Oct 25 at five locations across Singapore, including One Punggol, Our Tampines Hub and the Queenstown Community Centre.

Among those planning to get their children vaccinated soon is 32-year-old Shiffa Khumaira Abdul Khaliq, a mother of four boys, three of whom are below the age of five. The fund-raising manager told The Straits Times she was initially concerned about the safety of the vaccines as her oldest son, who is five, as well as her four-year-old twins, were born prematurely with respiratory issues.

But, her paediatrician assured her that the vaccination was safe for her children – two of whom had contracted Covid-19 in September – despite their premature births and medical conditions.

While children are less likely to experience severe illness from Covid-19, experts say vaccination can reduce the risk of infection and serious illness, as well as the incidence of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children – a rare condition that affects some children in the weeks following the viral infection.

In July, MOH said that children under five made up about 64,000, or some 3.9 per cent, of the Republic’s then 1.7 million reported Covid-19 cases. Of the over 1,600 deaths from Covid-19 here, three were children below five.

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