Majority of hospitalised children unvaccinated

EIGHTY per cent of children hospitalised in the country with Covid-19 infection this month were aged under 12 – and a majority of them had not been vaccinated.

National Taskforce for Combating Covid-19 monitoring committee head Lt-Col Dr Manaf Al Qahtani said 46 children aged between five and 17 were infected with the Omicron variant and admitted to hospitals between January 5 and 20.

The BDF hospital microbiologist was responding to the GDN yesterday during a Press conference held remotely from the Crown Prince Centre for Training and Medical Research, Riffa.

“Omicron has been spreading rapidly and causing infections largely among those who have not been vaccinated,” he said.

“We conducted a study among children infected between January 5 and 20. Around 46 of them were hospitalised out of whom 80pc were aged below 12. The majority of them were unvaccinated.


“However, they were all stable and none of them needed to be moved into the intensive care unit (ICU).
“The children had to stay in hospital for two to three days,” said the expert, who however cautioned about uncertain developments that could happen anytime.

“In epidemiology, things could change from now and tomorrow,” he added.

Bahrain started distributing Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to children aged five to 11 last week. The country also approved Sinopharm for children as young as three with low immunity in August, and the jabs were made open to all in this age category three months ago.

In May last year, Bahrain approved the use of Pfizer for children aged 12 to 17 – a critical step in the country’s steady recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Al Qahtani revealed that 91pc of children aged 12 to 17 have been inoculated.

“A total of 17,000 children aged between three and 11 have also been administered the vaccine out of the eligible 25,000,” he added.

The senior medic thanked parents for their sense of responsibility, while urging others to follow suit.
“Vaccination and booster doses are effective in averting complications associated with the virus,” he said, citing international studies.

“Every human has different capabilities in creating antibodies and as we are witnessing a pandemic with variants – it’s normal to have booster doses.

He said despite increasing active cases, symptoms were mild among the infected. However, he warned people against complacency and taking the “mild infection” lightly as it could lead to complications.
“It’s important to know how this virus interacts in our bodies,” he pointed out.

“Vaccines also interact in our bodies.
“There are people who say it’s better to get infected with the virus and gain immunity. This is a wrong theory as the unvaccinated lot could face severe complications.”

Dr Al Qahtani said 96pc of Bahrain’s eligible population have been vaccinated against Covid-19, while 84pc have received the booster shot.

He reiterated the safety of all vaccines, terming the life-saving jab as a vital tool to defeat the pandemic.




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