Health Guidance Malaysia


By Kausalyaa Kaliapan

Amid the Covid-19 global pandemic, as vaccinations rolled out worldwide, the concern for children became paramount. Many parents were fearful and sceptical about vaccinating their kids due to inadequate information on the process and effects of the vaccine in children.

Generally, when a large portion of the population is vaccinated, it helps protect vulnerable groups, including children. However, it is crucial for eligible children to get vaccinated according to the guidelines implemented after rigorous evaluation by both the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MoH) and the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

In 2021, the Drug Control Authority (DCA) approved the Pfizer vaccine for those aged 12 and above. It is important to note that the dosage for children differs from that for adults. The Covid-19 vaccine dosage is based on child’s age at the time of vaccination, not their weight or size, similar to other routinely administered vaccines like those for hepatitis A and B.

Many paediatric experts agree that the Covid-19 vaccine can significantly boost a child’s immune system. Children’s immune system is constantly developing; they are relatively immature at birth and must adapt through exposure to various pathogens during childhood. How does this happen?

When the body encounters a new pathogen, it launches an innate immune response, rapidly deploying defenders and signalling for additional support. This quick response is crucial as children frequently encounter new pathogens. On the other hand, some children can be vulnerable to the virus due a weakened immune system.

This vulnerability can stem from various factors including, malnutrition, unhealthy routines, chronic illness, immunosuppressive treatments, genetic factors, and environmental factors. These factors collectively heighten the risk of severe Covid-19 infection in vulnerable children, making preventive measures like vaccination even more critical.

Nevertheless, parents should consider several important factors during vaccination. It is essential to inform the doctor or vaccine provider if the child has any history of allergies, as the vaccine could contain substances that trigger allergic reactions. If the child is scheduled for other routine vaccinations on the same day, inform the healthcare provider so they can plan accordingly.

Besides, children who have previously contracted Covid-19 can still receive the vaccine for added protection, with the procedure possibly being delayed up to three months post-infection. While side effects are common, just like in adults, any severe reactions should prompt immediate medical attention. To conclude, although the vaccination process might seem daunting for children, parents should educate and reassure them about the importance of getting vaccinated for their safety and well-being of those around them.


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