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IATF asked to study vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 

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The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) should look into further studies on whether the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years old against Covid-19 is really beneficial, National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 medical adviser Dr. Ted Herbosa said in a report by Philippine News Agency.

At the Laging Handa press briefing, Herbosa cited that children carrying a dreaded coronavirus usually have very mild symptoms such as cough and fever.

Herbosa, however, noted that some minor Covid-19 patients get multi-organ dysfunctions when treated at the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU).

"Magdadagdag pa tayo ng mga polisiya, so kailangan ding tutukan ng ating IATF at ng kaniyang mga adviser kung talagang beneficial ba talaga ibigay ito sa mga Pilipinong bata (We will add up more policies, so the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management and its advisers need to focus their studies on whether it is really beneficial to give vaccines to younger Filipinos)," he said.

While the decision on vaccinating children below 12 years old is still on the table, Herbosa said the country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expecting the application of Pfizer-BioNTech manufacturer for emergency use authorization (EUA) of its vaccine for the 5 to 11-year-old age bracket.

"At iyan ay hopefully mabilis mag-approve ang FDA, within three weeks once nag-apply sila ng mga studies nila at pruweba na epektibo at beneficial ang bakunang ito, bibigyan iyan ng EUA, idadagdag iyan doon sa EUA na existing na sa Pfizer (Hopefully, if the FDA approves it right away, within three weeks, once they applied their further studies and this vaccine would be proven effective and beneficial, they will get an EUA, it would be added on the existing EUA of Pfizer)," he said.

Herbosa said the "long-term sequelae" effect of the virus among children is one of the reasons why some medical experts are considering the push for pediatric vaccination, particularly to those below 11 years old.

He said the "long-term sequelae" of Covid-19 refers to the weakening of the heart and lungs of children as they will no longer do their normal activities.

"Para itong nangyari sa polio, for example, iyong mga may polio iyong binti. Napi-prevent iyon ng bakuna (It's much like polio for example. It hits your leg. So the vaccine will prevent it)," he said.

Once Pfizer is approved, Herbosa said children below 11 years old will be administered with two doses but will get a much lower concentration of mRNA nanoparticles, compared to adults and teenagers.

While waiting for some developments in pediatric vaccination, Herbosa cited the need to secure the safety of the younger population against Covid-19, particularly in going to public places and closed areas like malls.

"Remember kahit vaccinated, puwede kang maging carrier, wala kang sintomas pero may dala kang virus doon sa iyong place. So, puwede talagang mahawa iyong mga bata theoretically na lumalabas sa mga mall (Remember that even vaccinated ones can be virus carriers, you don't have symptoms but you can carry the virus in that place. So it would really be possible that, theoretically, children will get infected if they go out in malls)," he said.

Herbosa said parents should rather bring their children to open areas such as parks instead of going to malls or other closed areas.

The NTF earlier said the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 will begin once local authorities have completed the necessary assessments and safety protocols on the measure.


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