By Willem James Banaynal III
On Monday, February 7, the government officially started vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 years old against COVID-19.
The vaccination first started in six sites located around Metro Manila – the Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, Manila Zoo, SM North Edsa, and the FilOil Gym in San Juan City.
Vaccinations were then expanded to Central Luzon and CALABARZON on Tuesday, February 8, with a nationwide rollout expected to begin on February 14.
Furthermore, according to Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, the government plans to inoculate 15.5 million individuals aged 5 to 11 years nationwide.
In line with the vaccinations, Presidential Adviser for COVID-19 Response Vince Dizon also reiterated that parental consent is an “absolute requirement” for children to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
As mentioned by Dizon, individuals within the ages of 5 to 11 years old will not be allowed to get vaccinated against COVID-19 without the approval of their parents or respective guardians.
He then added that children are not allowed to decide for themselves if they wish to get vaccinated, as “it is the parents’ call if their children will be vaccinated or not.”
These came after the Department of Health (DOH) released a memorandum rescinding the policy that previously allowed the state to act as “parens patriae” or “parent of the nation,” in order to give consent to a child’s inoculation, despite their parent or guardian refusing such.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) expressed its support towards the government’s efforts to vaccinate children aged 5 to 11 years old against COVID-19.
In a statement released on Tuesday, February 8, the PMA reminded the public that COVID-19 “directly affects children,” and could put such individuals “at risk of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C)” where different body parts such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs can become inflamed.
The PMA also reiterated that despite most recorded COVID-19 cases being mild or asymptomatic, some cases may still “develop more serious consequences” such as MIS-C and death.
Currently, the Philippines joins countries such as the United States and Singapore, which have already started vaccinating individuals aged 5 to 11 years old.
Cervantes, F. (2022, February 9). PMA backs Covid-19 vaccination of kids aged 5 to 11. Philippines News Agency. Retrieved from https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1167398
CNN Philippines Staff. (2022, February 7). Gov’t: Parental consent ‘absolute requirement’ for pediatric vaccination. CNN Philippines. Retrieved from https://cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/2/7/Parental-consent-children-vaccination.html
Magsambol, B. (2022, February 7). Philippines begins COVID-19 vaccination of children aged 5 to 11. Rappler. Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/nation/philippines-begins-covid-19-vaccination-children-5-to-11-february-7-2022/
Thumbnail Courtesy of Pasig City Public Information Office