Tue, July 05, 2022

in-focus

Jab under-5s to prevent deaths in healthy toddlers, says virologist


Children under 5 who catch Covid-19 are at higher risk of developing severe symptoms leading to death than older children and adults, leading virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan said on Tuesday.

“Since January the Public Health Ministry has recorded 51 deaths in children due to Covid-19. Of them, 39 are under 5 years old,” Yong wrote on Facebook.

Nineteen of the deceased toddlers had underlying health problems but 20 were healthy before contracting Covid-19, he added.

In contrast, most Covid deaths in children aged over 5 were in those with health problems.

Yong said one factor driving the high death rate in children under 5 was Thailand’s lower age limit for vaccination of five years old.

“Vaccines greatly help reduce the chance of patients developing severe symptoms and dying, but these children aren’t getting any,” he pointed out.

Many countries are now giving vaccines to children as young as three, he added.

“In China, children aged 3-5 receive inactivated vaccines, which are safer than other types.”

Yong cited a case study in the Lancet medical journal supporting giving vaccines to young children.

He added that Covid-19 vaccination for children under five is being considered by Thai authorities but urged them to make a decision soon to reduce Covid-19 deaths in toddlers and the pain borne by parents.

Published : April 26, 2022

By : THE NATION