LGUs Urged To Begin COVID Vaccine Registration For Adolescents Aged 12 To 17
It’s a step closer to protecting the younger generation.
The President of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society of the Philippines (PIDSP), Dr. Mary Ann Bunyi, revealed in August that there are over 48,000 COVID-19 cases among children below 19 years old as of February this year. Of these, 40.2% of are between 15 and 20 years old, 23.8% are between 10 and 14 years old, 17.4% are children aged five to nine, and the remaining 18.5% are four and below.
“There are more cases in the adolescent age group and higher mortality in the very young, but not as much as the adult population,” said PIDSP Vice President Dr. Fatima Gimenez.
With Delta being the dominant COVID-19 variant in the Philippines, infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante says that children are no longer exempted from the virus, as the Delta variant has higher transmissibility compared to other mutations.
“When you have a virus that is highly transmissible, when you have 50 times more transmissibility than the original strain, then there’s no exception with that, even children who are exposed to adults,” he added.
The most effective way to protect our children from the rising coronavirus infections is by inoculating them with anti-COVID jabs. The good news is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given Moderna vaccines emergency use authorization for children as young as 12 years old earlier this month.
“With the Delta variant affecting a lot of children, experts saw that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks,” said FDA Director-General Rolando Enrique Domingo during a briefing.
“After a thorough evaluation by our vaccine experts and our regulatory experts sa FDA, in-approve na namin ngayong araw na ito ang paggamit under emergency use authorization ng Moderna vaccines for adolescents aged 12 to 17,” he added in September.
According to a report by OneNews.ph, Domingo is encouraging local governments to begin the registration for the younger age groups as early as now.
“It’s a great initiative on the part of LGUs (local government units) to start registering adolescents because we will eventually get there, at a time when we will already vaccinate children,” Domingo was quoted as saying in a September 9 virtual briefing.
The Moderna vaccine is the second pediatric jab approved for emergency use, the first being Pfizer-BioNTech, which got approval in June.
However, Domingo reminds vaccinators and health professionals to keep an eye out for possible heart inflammation among these adolescents. He also emphasized that even though the Moderna vaccine is already approved for pediatric use, high-risk groups (the elderly, frontliners, healthcare workers, and individuals with comorbidities) will still be prioritized in inoculation efforts.