PETALING JAYA: Parents of children aged under five years are waiting for Covid-19 vaccines to be made available for this age group here.

This is after the United States became the first country to approve the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines last month for children as young as six months to five years old.

Analyst Ali Haydar, 37, said he would probably be the first parent in Malaysia to sign up his four-year-old daughter once the vaccine became available.

“In fact, I’m for it, almost urgently,” said Ali, who nonetheless called on the government to share as much information as possible about any adverse effects following vaccination for this group of recipients in order to allay any fears.

Another parent, M. Malar, 35, is also ready to register her three-year-old son for the vaccine as her six-year-old son, who had been vaccinated earlier this year, did not experience any negative side effects.

“In fact, my six-year-old child hasn’t caught Covid-19, so I’m convinced that the vaccine is doing its job.

“Actually, it’s also a good sign that the Covid-19 vaccine for children under five took such a long time to be ready.

“It means that they wanted to make sure it’s truly safe,” said Malar, a physician who believes in evidence-based medicine.

Public relations specialist Farah Yaakob, 30, is also keen to have her two-year-old daughter vaccinated against Covid-19 as her toddler is attending daycare.

“I will support Covid-19 shots for my daughter as vaccination prevents severe infections and hospitalisations.

“Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep my daughter and her friends healthy and thriving.

“My nephews, who are under 12, have been vaccinated and are very healthy,” said Farah, who hoped the government would do its best to start this child vaccination programme for Covid-19.

“There will be a lot of anxiety among parents because it involves such young kids, so the government has to address this matter,” she added.

Consultant paediatrician Datuk Dr Amar Singh HSS said available data and science had shown that while the chances of dying from Covid-19 for young children was small, there was a significant risk of getting multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and Long Covid.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while it is still unknown what causes MIS-C – a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes and gastrointestinal organs – what is known is that many children with MIS-C contracted the virus that causes Covid-19, or were around someone with Covid-19.

“Vaccination against Covid-19 will significantly reduce the risk of death, hospitalisation and MIS-C in children.

“However, it is uncertain if vaccination can significantly reduce the risk of Long Covid. A recent study suggested that vaccination could decrease the risk by only 15%.

“Parents need to weigh the risk and benefits of vaccinating young children with current data, both local and international, showing low rates of serious side effects from these vaccines,” said Dr Amar.

He added that as a minimum, vaccination consideration should be given to children facing the most risk of developing severe illnesses from Covid-19.

“These are children with disabilities, are immunocompromised or have chronic medical problems such as comorbidities like congenital heart disease, diabetes or chronic lung disease,” he said.

Dr Amar added that parents of children aged five to 11 years should vaccinate their at-risk children.

He said broad vaccination must also be accompanied by continued mask wearing, improved indoor ventilation and avoidance of crowded locations.