Pediatric groups reiterate support for COVID vaccination of aged 5 to 11
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP) on Sunday reiterated their full support for the government’s vaccination of kids aged 5 to 11 against COVID-19.
According to the groups, COVID-19 “directly affects children and may lead to serious consequences.”
One of the consequences, said the PPS and PIDSP, is the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a fatal condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs, which is most frequent among children 5 to 11 years old.
“Unfortunately, some of us in our practice have already encountered a few pediatric patients with MIS-C, a few of whom have succumbed to the illness,” said the pediatric groups.
The groups said that while the majority of children infected with SARS-CoV-2 present asymptomatic or mild symptoms, MISC-C and post-COVID conditions typically occur after these types of infection.
Meanwhile, data from the US showed that 95 percent of children hospitalized for MIS-C were unvaccinated and two doses of the vaccine reduced the likelihood of MIS-C by 91 percent.
“Other post-COVID conditions have also been seen in this age group, including ‘Long COVID’,” it added.
Long COVID refers to a condition wherein people continue to experience COVID-19 symptoms for longer than usual after initially contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The groups also highlighted COVID-19’s indirect effects on children — worsening mental or emotional health, widening education gaps, decreased physical activity and increased body mass index, decreased routine immunizations, and increase in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
“Thus, broad vaccination implementation would reduce the public health burden of COVID-19 in children 5-11 years of age,” it added.
This announcement came after misinformation on the vaccine spread like wildfire in social media.
In Quezon City, parents filed a petition before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to stop the Department of Health (DOH) from vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 against COVID-19. Despite this, the DOH has since said that it will still push through with the vaccination efforts.
‘Benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks’
Both the PPS and PIDSP also reiterated the safety of the vaccines, as many regulatory agencies around the world, including the the Philippine Food and Drug Agency (FDA) has approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for this age group, “after a rigorous and independent review process.”
The groups said that the vaccine was found to be safe and efficacious in the vaccine trials among children 5 to 100, preventing 90.9 percent of symptomatic COVID-19, with no serious adverse events nor deaths found related to the vaccination.
They further explained that in the 7,633,548 adolescents vaccinated with one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the country, the FDA has only reported a total of 87,884 suspected adverse reactions from all age groups and only 3.22 percent were from adolescents.
Most of the reactions in children (94 percent of the 3.22 percent) were also non-serious and were normal side effects to getting vaccinated, said the PPS and PIDSP, and that only two cases of myocarditis and one case of pericarditis were reported in the adolescent population — this is still, however, being reviewed whether it is really related to the virus.
“The benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risks the risks, because as of 20 January 2022, the DOH has recorded a total of 396,730 COVID-19 cases in the pediatric group,”
According to the data, 36 percent of these cases were seen among children 15 to 19 years old, 25 percent among 10 to 14 years old, and 19 percent each among the 5 to 9 years and 0 to 4 years old.
“We therefore reiterate that vaccination is the best way to protect children from COVID- 19 and its complications. COVID-19 is now vaccine preventable,” it said.
The national government’s pediatric immunization efforts for this age group is set to begin on Monday, Feb. 7.
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