President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday renewed his call to parents and their kids to get their vaccinations against COVID-19.
The country kicked off COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years old on Monday.
Duterte said it is important to vaccinate children “for they constitute the next generation of Filipinos.”
Citing Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Duterte said data showed that the majority of those who died due to COVID-19 have yet to receive their jabs. Duque said around 93 percent of fatalities due to COVID-19 in 2021 were not vaccinated against the disease.
Duterte said he has been encouraging the public to get vaccinated, warning them that the health crisis is not over yet.
Duterte said he could not understand why there were still people who resisted getting vaccinated despite learning about worldwide deaths.
Although the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been believed to be milder than other variants, Duterte said getting vaccinated would help protect them against severe symptoms and death from variants such as Delta.
To date, the Pfizer vaccine is being used for pediatric vaccination as it is the only jab that has received emergency use approval for kids aged 5 to 11 years old from the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration.
Duterte also asked Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta, who remains unvaccinated against COVID-19, to let children get the jab against the deadly virus.
Acosta, through PAO, is representing two parents who asked a local court to stop the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive for minors aged 5 to 11.
The Department of Health (DOH) meanwhile said only 1 of nearly 10,000 kids aged 5-11 experienced an adverse reaction following a COVID-19 vaccination
This mirrors what is being reported in other countries, said Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, a pediatrician and a member of the DOH technical advisory group.
A total of 9,784 were given COVID-19 jabs on the first day of the expanded pediatric vaccination, which aims to immunize 15.56 million children aged 5 to 11, the DOH said.
Some 500,000 children belonging to the same age group have registered for vaccination, while more than 9.2 million children aged 12 to 17 have been vaccinated in the country with no deaths reported, the DOH said.
The agency has received reports of at least one myocarditis and one pericarditis adverse reactions among children aged 12-17.
An 11-year-old child who received a COVID-19 vaccine for adults, or those with a purple or gray cap, may get their second dose according to their age, Ong-Lim said. With Vito Barcelo and Willie Casas