SINGAPORE, Sept 11 — More children have become infected with Covid-19 as a result of the Delta variant, which is the dominant coronavirus strain causing infections in the community here now, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak from the Ministry of Health (MoH) said yesterday (September 10).
However, children who have been infected have not been severely ill, and all have either had no symptoms at all or mild ones, he added.
Speaking at a press conference by the national Covid-19 task force, the director of medical services at MoH said the authorities are mindful that other countries, particularly the United States, have seen many children admitted into intensive care and even succumb to the disease.
As Singapore proceeds with its plan to live with Covid-19 circulating in the population and community cases rise, it must be prepared for the possibility that children who have Covid-19 here could get very sick or die, too, he added.
Assoc Prof Mak stressed that vaccination coverage here must continue to expand, especially among those who are vulnerable to the disease.
These include seniors, of whom 90,000 have yet to get vaccinated against Covid-19, he noted.
He also urged pregnant women and women who are intending to have children very soon to get vaccinated as well.
“The chapter of obstetricians and gynecologists in the Academy of Medicine, as well as the Obstetrical and Gynecological Society of Singapore, have issued expert statements affirming that the benefits of vaccination exist and they far outweigh any potential risks associated with vaccination.”
Assoc Prof Mak laid out evidence to stress the effectiveness of vaccinations, noting that data shows vaccination reduces the likelihood of infected persons transmitting the disease to others.
While the viral load is similar among vaccinated and unvaccinated people in the early stage of infection, vaccinated Covid-19 patients clear the virus faster compared to those who have not been immunised, he said.
This means that a vaccinated but infected symptomatic person will not be infectious after nine days, but those who are unvaccinated and infected with Covid-19 could take up to 16 days before they clear their viral load.
A study conducted by the National Centre for Infectious Diseases on the Bukit Merah View market cluster found that a vaccinated person is two times less likely to get infected compared to one who is unvaccinated, when they are exposed to the same confirmed Covid-19 case at home.
The risk of needing oxygen support and needing to receive intensive care is also much lower for those who are fully vaccinated.
“For those of you who are vaccinated and, say, you’re aged between 60 and 69 years, your risk profile has changed with vaccination. Your need for oxygen supplementation for intensive care is now lowered, to be similar to that for unvaccinated people less than 50 years of age,” Assoc Prof Mak said.
Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, have shown similar findings of a protective benefit with vaccination for seniors, he noted. ― TODAY