Singapore Will Not Be Able To Achieve Herd Immunity Unless Kids Are Vaccinated

Sarmistha Neogy
·5-min read

Every country is ramping up its immunisation drive to bring the spread of COVID infection under control. Government authorities are ensuring that all age groups are covered and given a jab, save one, and for good measure. Children COVID vaccination for those below the age of 16 are still awaiting approvals.

As it turns out, a green light to this age group will help to achieve herd immunity in Singapore.

Currently, the children’s COVID vaccination drive hasn’t kicked off in any part of the world. According to the Ministry of Health (MOH) The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is not recommended for kids under 16. While the Moderna vaccine has also not been approved for those under 18, due to inadequate data.

Even though kids have a lower risk of exposure, but the fact is that there are certain strains of the infection that have affected younger kids as well. In some countries, women have been asked to delay pregnancies because an infected expecting mums are passing the infection to their newborns, leading to increased infant mortality rates.

All of these cases make it crucial for the younger generation to be vaccinated, as soon as possible.

Children’s COVID Vaccination Essential For Singapore’s Immunity

children's covid vaccination
children's covid vaccination

(Photo courtesy: Pixabay)

Medical experts suggest that vaccinating children is necessary
for Singapore to achieve herd immunity. As Professor David Matchar from Duke-NUS Medical School explains, “Children under the age of 16 make up around 12% of the population. Not inoculating children may lead to new mutations of the virus. This may result in a prolonged pandemic for everyone.”

“Around 80-90% of the population has to be inoculated against the virus for herd immunity to be reached,” he adds.

Fortunately, the trials have already begun and they are showing positive results as well. Pfizer and Moderna have started vaccine trials on children aged 12 and above, as well as on children aged below 12. Pfizer says its vaccine is now being tested on children as young as six-months.

But, the reason children’s COVID vaccination hasn’t gone full throttle is because of a persistent challenge.

Where is the challenge?

The human immune system is fully functional around 11-12 years of age. So children’s COVID vaccination may not be suitable for those below the age of 11.

“Tweaks may have to made to the dose or its formulation,” says Professor Sylvie Alonso from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and co-director of the school’s Infectious Diseases Translational Research Programme.

Another problem is that children usually suffer from more severe allergic reactions. This could make side-effects of covid vaccination more dangerous to them.

But inspite of the risks around children’s covid vaccination, experts insist that it is needed. Inoculating children would become less pressing when the development of mutations slow down. This can only happen when adults get vaccinated in large numbers, and take necessary precautions.

Singapore Monitoring The Trails Of Children’s COVID Vaccination

Children's covid vaccination
Children's covid vaccination

Image courtesy: Pixabay

Singapore is monitoring the ongoing trials on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID vaccine on children. It further hopes to be able to certify and administer them for students soon.

According to the preliminary results from trials, Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine is reportedly safe. It has also been found effective in children and adolescents. Plus, Singapore has already received around 200,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine. But, the country is waiting for approval by the Health Sciences Authority.

The vaccination programme was extended to over 150,000 teachers and other staff in educational institutes. The plan is to inoculate those who come into prolonged contact with children and young people.

Singapore government is urging people to get vaccinated in large numbers. A population with high vaccination will indirectly protect those who are unable to get their jabs.

While the children may be at low risk of coronavirus infection right now, do not take any symptoms lightly.

Coronavirus Symptoms In Kids

Children's covid vaccination
Children's covid vaccination

Image courtesy: iStock

Sometimes children experience symptoms that may be different from adults, according to a Harvard Health report. The classic symptoms of coronavirus in kids include fever, headache, cough and cold.

Here are some additional visible symptoms:

  • If your kid is suffering from persistent fever ranging from 103-104 degree celsius.

  • If the fever continues for 4-5 days

  • Normal blood oxygen saturation level in kids is between 97-99%. If it’s less or more than this, they should be taken to the doctor’s immediately.

  • Diarrhoea

  • Red, cracked lips or bluish tint on face and lips

  • Your child is irritable and suffering from sleeplessness

  • Some kids can also experience loss of appetite as COVID-19 symptoms

It is important to tell your child to share their discomforts with you and teach them the importance of good hygiene. They:

  • Need to wash hands frequently

  • Must never to step out of the home without wearing masks

  • Should maintain social distancing in public

  • Need to boost their immunity by taking care of their diet and health, which means eating healthy food including greens and vitamin and mineral-rich foods.

Researchers across the world are working on children’s covid vaccination. Till the time our kids become eligible for vaccination, remain safe and never let your guard down.

News source: Goodyfeed, Ministry of Health


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