MOH points to Denmark's Covid-19 battle, similar to S'pore's, with more children affected there

None of the children infected with Covid-19 in Singapore developed severe illness requiring oxygen supplementation or intensive care.
None of the children infected with Covid-19 in Singapore developed severe illness requiring oxygen supplementation or intensive care.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - No child in Singapore has fallen severely ill with Covid-19 so far, but the Ministry of Health is closely watching the situation in Denmark, where more children have been infected.

There are some similarities in the Covid-19 figures for the two countries but one big difference is in the number of children infected - a few hundred here, tens of thousands there. Yet not many of those children in Denmark have fallen seriously ill.

Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary had said in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 14) that the 367 cases of Covid-19 among children below the age of 12 account for 0.6 per cent of all local infections.

None of them developed severe illness requiring oxygen supplementation or intensive care.

MOH said on Friday that Singapore can look at the experience of Denmark, which has a similar population size of around 5.8 million and high testing rates for Covid-19.

Denmark has recorded around 28,000 infections among those aged nine and below. Of these, two have died from the virus, 16 were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and 302 were hospitalised.

Those aged 10 to 19 in Denmark saw a similar number of hospital and ICU admissions though the number of infections was even higher. There were more than 60,000 cases in this age group, of which 21 were in ICU and 298 in hospital.

In all, the rate of hospital admissions for those aged 19 and below in Denmark is 0.67 per cent while that for ICU admissions is 0.04 per cent.

Denmark's health authorities said in June that the country would offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children aged 12 to 15 ahead of winter, to boost the overall immunity of its population against the virus.

As at Tuesday, around 74 per cent of Denmark’s population has been fully vaccinated from Covid-19, while in Singapore, it is 81 per cent.

MOH said in its statement on Friday that the vaccination of children below 12 years old should start some time early next year, after the safety and efficacy aspects of the vaccines have been studied.

In the meantime, MOH reiterated that family members should get vaccinated to reduce the risks of transmitting Covid-19 to children.