Minors not included in initial Covid-19 vaccine program

Photo from AP

MINORS will not be included in the Covid-19 vaccination program to be rolled out soon by both the national and local governments, said health officials in Davao Region.

During the Kapihan sa DavNor on January 20, 2021 that was streamed live on Philippine Information Agency-Davao and Davao del Norte Facebook pages, Dr. Jasmin de la Cruz, Pediatric Infection Diseases specialist and Medical Officer IV at the Infection Control Unit of the Davao Region Medical Center, said that so far, the Covid-19 vaccines will only be rolled out for the adults.

"Wala pa man guy directive sa Covid-19 vaccine para sa mga bata, since wala pay studies sa Covid-19 vaccine sa mga bata (There's no directive yet to include the minors in the Covid-19 vaccine since there are no studies yet about the Covid-19 vaccine on children)," De la Cruz said.

Dr. Raquel Montejo, operations chief of Covid-19 Vaccination Program in Davao Region, also reiterated De la Cruz's statement during the One Davao on Covid-19 virtual presser on the same day.

"Yun pong ating desisyon na 18 and above ang bakunahan ay base na ron po sa product insert ng mga vaccine manufacturer, kasi po each product meron po silang product insert, parang information about vaccine tapos doon po nakalagay ang age kung sino dapat bakunahan (Our decision to only vaccinate those who are 18 years old and above is based on the product insert of the vaccine manufacturers. The product insert provides the information on the vaccine and those who can be inoculated with the vaccine)," Montejo said.

Montejo added that this may be because the pharmaceutical companies who manufactured these vaccines only conducted the studies on the adults.

In the news report from AP published on December 17, 2020, the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine that was authorized in the US to be used this month is only for people 16 years old and older.

They began testing children as young as 12 in October last year and the testing is expected to take several more months.

Moderna, meanwhile, began enrolling study participants ages 12 to 17 last month, which will run for a year. Their testing in children younger than 12 is expected to start in early 2021.

With this, the health officials encouraged the adults to get themselves vaccinated against Covid-19 as a means to protect the children.

"Ang mga bata dili man ang source sa Covid-19, ang adult man jud gud... So kong maproteksyonan nato ang mga adults, or ibig sabihin dili na sila magkasakit og Covid-19 through sa vaccine dili na pud sila makatakod sa mga bata, kasi sa pagkakaron wala pay vaccine sa Covid-19 para sa mga bata," De la Cruz said.

(The children are not mainly the source of Covid-19 but the adults... So if we can protect our adult, or if they will not get infected with the Covid-19 through getting a vaccine, they could not anymore infect children, since to this day, there's no Covid-19 vaccine yet for the children.)

She added that the children's trend of Covid-19 cases may not be that alarming but if the cases for adults continue to increase, it can be expected that the children's cases will increase as well.

"Pero siyempre kay nagadaghan man ang adult cases, mura'g muduyog pud ang cases sa mga bata... Kay kung dagha'g adults nga ma-infect, naa man pud sila'y mga anak (Since the trend in Covid-19 cases is increasing in the adult, cases in children also increase because most of these adults have their own children)," De la Cruz said.


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