Local expert urges parents to vaccinate young children against COVID-19 as soon as possible after another 25-month-old baby’s condition worsened

Professor Lau Yu-long

16th August 2022 – (Hong Kong) The Hospital Authority announced that Princess Margaret Hospital recorded a critical case of a child involving a 25-month-old boy who developed fever and cold symptoms last Friday (12th). He started to have breathing difficulties yesterday before being tested positive for COVID-19 with croup symptoms.

Professor Yu-lung Lau, Chairman of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases  said on a radio program this morning (16th) that the child’s trachea itself is narrow, and the inflammation makes the trachea narrower. When inhaling, the trachea collapses due to its softness, resulting in a hissing sound. The hospital provided the young patient with oxygen therapy, and oxygen is delivered through oxygen tubes commonly known as “cat whiskers” and masks. However, the boy’s condition did not improve, or even deteriorated, hence steroids and bronchodilators were prescribed.

When asked about the causes of croup in children, Lau believes that there are individual reasons, and the most effective way to avoid it is to get vaccinated. If children have breathing difficulties, the parents should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Lau reminded that the Hong Kong medical system may not be able to cope with such severe cases, and reminded parents that even if the patient receives adequate treatment, the chance of 100% recovery is still low, or there may be a large number of sequelae. The Hong Kong government announced earlier that more than 3,000 children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years old have been vaccinated. Lau said that at the current rate, about 40% of children will be vaccinated by the end of the year. Recently, the public hospital recorded two severe cases involving young children. It is recommended that parents bring their children to be vaccinated. It is expected that the vaccination rate will reach 50% to 60% by the end of the year.