Benefits of vaccinating those below 18-years-old outweigh risks

Credit: Reuters

By John Isaac

THE benefits of vaccinating those below 18 years old outweigh the risks, said Education, Science and Technological Research Assistant Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee.

He said vaccination at this time was crucial as there is a high number of Covid-19 cases involving those in the age group.

“When comparing the benefits to the risks, the benefits are more — we have to remind ourselves that most of the cases now involve those below 18.

“So, it is important for them to be vaccinated and we are starting to administer the Covid-19 vaccines to those aged 16 to 17. We hope next week we can start vaccinating them,” he said as reported by New Sarawak Tribune.

On the risks of developing myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart), Dr Annuar said these only occurred to 40 to 60 persons per one million vaccine doses.

“The symptoms are rapid heartbeat, fever, difficulty in breathing and chest pain. But so far, there are no deaths caused by myocarditis and pericarditis due to vaccination,” he explained.

The Nangka assemblyman added, however, the risks of heart inflammation only occurred with mRNA Covid-19 vaccine shots.

“I have not heard of the risks using the Sinovac vaccine but I’ve heard them with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“We don’t use Moderna vaccine in Malaysia but we use the Pfizer vaccine in the immunisation programme in Sarawak,” he said.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) advisor Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian on Aug 15 said the Sarawak government was working closely with the Health Department and Education Department to inoculate teenagers aged 16 and 17.

“We are planning to have a discussion on vaccinating this group of teenagers next week and we hope to roll out the vaccination as fast as possible, mirroring our achievement of high vaccination rate among those aged 18 and above,” he said.