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Children who have come down with the coronavirus have not been severely ill, and all have either had no symptoms at all or mild ones, said the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak. — Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY pic
Children who have come down with the coronavirus have not been severely ill, and all have either had no symptoms at all or mild ones, said the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak. — Ooi Boon Keong/TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Sept 10 — More children have become infected with Covid-19 as a result of the Delta variant, which is the dominant Covid-19 variant that is causing infections in the community here now, the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak said today.

But the children who have come down with the coronavirus have not been severely ill, and all have either had no symptoms at all or mild ones, he added.

Still, 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 in an endemic Covid-19 situation and community cases rise, the Republic must be prepared for the possibility that children who are infected with the coronavirus here could get very sick or die too, he said.

Assoc Prof Mak made these comments during a briefing held by the Government’s Covid-19 task force. 

In his remarks, he stressed that vaccination coverage here must continue to expand, especially among those who are vulnerable to the disease. 

This includes seniors, of whom 90,000 have yet to get vaccinated against Covid-19, said Assoc Prof Mak.

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 gynaecologists in the Academy of Medicine, as well as the Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Singapore have issued expert statements affirming that the benefits of vaccination exist and they far outweigh any potential risks associated with vaccination,” he added.

Assoc Prof Mak laid out evidence to stress the effectiveness of vaccinations, noting that data shows vaccination reduces the likelihood of infected Covid-19 cases transmitting the infection to others.

While the viral load is similar among infected 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 inoculated, said Assoc Prof Mak.

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 cluster found that a vaccinated individual 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 stay in intensive care is also much lower for those who are fully vaccinated, said Assoc Prof Mak.

“For those of you who are vaccinated and say you’re aged between 60 to 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,” he said. 

Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, have shown similar findings of a protective benefit with vaccination for seniors, he noted. — TODAY

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