Jakarta (ANTARA) - Parents must remain alert for symptoms of the Omicron variant in children since it can cause fatal health problems, Chairman of the Indonesian Pediatricians Association (IDAI) Dr. Piprim Basarah Yanuarso, Sp. A(K) has said.

"There have been several case reports by pediatricians who received cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), which can cause heart failure and diabetes mellitus, and can also damage other organs," he informed in a press statement issued on Wednesday.

He said that children have the potential to develop MIS-C following exposure to COVID-19.

"Be careful of the potential long COVID-19 or MIS-C that can happen even when the children have already tested negative," he cautioned.

Meanwhile, head of public health at the Jakarta Provincial Health Service, Dr. Fify Mulyani, MARS, said that the common symptoms experienced by babies infected with Omicron include breathing difficulties or a persistent cough accompanied by shortness of breath, reduced urination intensity, refusal to breastfeed, and high fever.

"Meanwhile, in older children or toddlers, the most frequently reported symptoms of COVID-19 infection with the Omicron variant are runny nose, headache, fever, and the most common is a sore throat," Mulyani said.

To prevent COVID-19, children must be vaccinated, the director of nutrition and maternal and child health at the Health Ministry’s Directorate General of Public Health, Erna Mulati, stressed.

Related news: Vaccination for Bangka children capped at 92.45 percent: task force

Currently, COVID-19 vaccination coverage among children aged 6–11 years has reached 65.6 percent for the first dose, and 25.85 percent for the second dose. In the 12–17 age group, it has been recorded at 91.73 percent for the first dose and 72.7 percent for the second dose, she said.

"Based on data on people infected with COVID-19 from January 21 to February 6, 2022, around 69 percent of them had not been vaccinated. For this matter, vaccination acceleration was necessary to increase vaccination coverage," she said.

Based on IDAI's survey, currently, there has been an increase in Omicron infections in children, especially in areas outside Java, she added.

In early January, there were 70 cases and they increased by 350 times by February 14, 2022, surpassing the peak of the second wave of COVID-19 in July 2021, she noted.

Related news: 620,784 children exposed to COVID-19: PPPA Minister

Translator: Suci Nurhaliza, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2022