Pharmacists urge parents to have children jabbed

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists on Sunday called on parents to take the opportunity to have their children vaccinated, after a survey showed widespread reluctance to take a jab.

The society questioned 235 parents of children aged between five and 11 and found that only a quarter plan to arrange inoculation for their children.

It said 80 percent of those who didn’t plan to arrange vaccination were worried about side-effects.

The society’s president, William Chui, said common side-effects of both Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines are mild. They include fever, pain at the injection site and tiredness.

But he warned that children could develop serious complications from Covid infection such as multisystem inflammatory syndrome and long Covid.

“For children infected with Covid-19 with or without symptoms, it may induce long Covid. We want to encourage parents to let their children be vaccinated as soon as possible because long Covid is not a simple symptom. It’s a very serious symptom as it can last longer… more than two to six months in some cases,” he said.

The survey also questioned parents with children aged between 12 and 15 and found that they were more willing to have their children vaccinated.

Among 138 parents, close to 70 per cent have either already let their children receive the vaccine or planned to arrange jabs for them.

The society recommended that the government provide parents with more easy-to-understand information and overseas data to ease their concern, and open more child vaccination centres for both vaccines as soon as possible.

The BioNTech vaccine has been made available to children as young as five since last week while Sinovac can be given to children as young as three.