MOH aims to start Covid-19 vaccination for children aged 6 months to 4 years 'towards last quarter of 2022'
SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) aims to roll out Covid-19 vaccinations for children between six months and four years old towards the fourth quarter of this year, it said on Monday (July 25).
In its statement, the ministry noted that the recent deaths of two children from complications due to Covid-19 have raised concerns among some parents, but noted that among children four years old and under, there have been fewer severe cases this year (12 per 100,000 cases) than in 2021 (41 per 100,000 cases).
"There is no clear evidence that the Omicron variants cause more severe disease," MOH added.
It laid out more statistics about infection and hospitalisation rates among children and adults, so that Singaporeans “can better understand the situation concerning children" who were infected by the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Of the 1.7 million Covid-19 cases reported since the start of the pandemic, about 64,000, or 3.9 per cent, were children under five years old, MOH said.
A "large majority” of the 64,000 infected children recovered uneventfully at home, with 0.022 per cent requiring oxygen aid or intensive care.
“In comparison, 0.17 per cent of patients in the 40-and-above age group require intensive care. The incidence rate of intensive care among the five-to-39 group is almost negligible,” it said.
As of July 23, there were two Covid-19 deaths among children between zero and four years old, the ministry noted.
“This translates to three deaths per 100,000 cases in the same age group, compared to 99 deaths per 100,000 cases for the 40 and above age group this year.”
This is a pattern in other infectious disease and not just in Covid-19, where children aged four and under are more resilient than older patients, but more vulnerable compared to older children and young adults, MOH added.
These children have also fallen victim to other diseases such as pneumonia and influenza.
“Before Covid-19, in 2018 and 2019, MOH recorded 3.1 deaths of children zero to four years old per 100,000 person-years from pneumonia and influenza,” it said.
The ministry used 2018 and 2019 data as a comparison because public health measures implemented during the Covid-19 have “significantly reduced the numbers for pneumonia and influenza", it added.