Five out of 10 children aged 0 to five years in Metro Manila missed routine vaccination amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Dr. Benito Atienza said on Friday.
Atienza, during the Laging Handa public briefing, said the Department of Health (DOH) has reached out to the PMA to help in administering vaccines in its vaccination campaign in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“Ang nangyari nga dyan five out of 10 na bata ay hindi nabakunahan during COVID-19 pandemic [What happened there is five out of 10 kids have missed their vaccination during the pandemic],” Atienza said.
Atienza encouraged parents to have their children vaccinated during the “Chikiting Ligtas” vaccination drive that will be held from May 30 to June 10.
The PMA President said the catch-up immunization drive will cover the shots that the children missed during the pandemic.
Last April, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said the COVID-19 pandemic caused a drop in the number of routine vaccinations among infants.
According to Duque, around 1.1 million kids did not complete their routine immunization. These include those who are under-vaccinated and unvaccinated.
The PMA further urged eligible persons for a third or fourth vaccine dose to get it after a more transmissible omicron subvariant was detected in the country.
The PMA will meet with the DOH on May 26 about the stock of booster shots and COVID-19 vaccines for children in specialty clinics and hospitals, he said.
On the other hand, Atienza said the next health chief must be patient, understanding, and able to communicate with the masses.
“Dapat down to earth, nakaka-relate lalo na sa lower strata… parang si idol dating secretary Juan Flavier. Nakaka-communicate, nadadala ang sentimiyento ng ating mga mamamayan (They should be down to earth and can relate to the lower strata of our society… just like idol and former Secretary Juan Flavier. They must be able to communicate and carry the sentiment of the public.),” he said in a televised briefing.