Senator Win Gatchalian has emphasized the importance of vaccinating all eligible learners to further ensure the safe resumption of face-to-face classes nationwide.
Gatchalian reiterated that based on available data and the advice of experts, children aged 5 to 11 will benefit from COVID-19 vaccines which are proven to prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
“Ang pagpapabakuna ang susi natin para makabalik na tayo nang ligtas sa face-to-face classes. Marami ibang bansa ang nauna nang magbakuna ng mga 5 to 11 years old at nakita natin na ang bakuna ay ligtas at epektibo laban sa COVID-19,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
“Kaya naman hinihikayat ko ang mga magulang na pabakunahan na ang kanilang mga anak upang sila ay maging ligtas, lalo na sa kanilang pagbabalik sa paaralan,” the lawmaker added.
He also emphasized the devastating effect of prolonged school closures, including learning and productivity losses, which will lead to economic scarring.
To date, only the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech has received the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval for the inoculation of minors aged 5 to 11. Doses for this age group, however, are reformulated.
In a joint statement, the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines said that broad vaccination would help reduce the burden of COVID-19 among children. A study by the New England Journal of Medicine published in January 2022 showed that among children aged 5 to 11, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s efficacy is 90.7%. It added that most vaccine adverse effects recorded one month after the second dose were mild to moderate.
These pediatric groups pointed out that COVID-19 among children has serious consequences such as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), which is most frequent among children 5-11 years old. MIS-C is a condition which could lead to the inflammation of body parts such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
The pediatric groups pointed out that based on the experience of the United States, two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine reduced the likelihood of MIS-C by 91% and that 95% of children hospitalized for MIS-C were unvaccinated.
The pediatric vaccination of 5 to 11 recently kicked off in select sites in the National Capital Region. The government targets to inoculate 15.5 million in this age group.