MANILA - The number of COVID-19 cases among children below 5 years old increased last month versus the wave of delta infections last year, the Department of Health said ahead of the government's expansion of pediatric vaccination.
Virus infections among said age group were tallied at 632 on Jan. 24-30 versus 554 during the peak of delta cases in September, according to the DOH.
"May pagbaba sa kaso ng COVID-19 sa mga 60 years old at pataas... Sa kabilang banda, makikitang nagkaroon ng pagtaas sa kaso ng COVID sa pediatric age group kung ikukumpara nung Setyembre na meron tayong delta experience," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters Wednesday.
(There's a decline in COVID-19 cases among 60 years old and above...On the other hand, an increase has been observed among COVID cases in the pediatric age group compared last September when we had the delta experience.)
This, however, should not stop parents from allowing their children to go outside their homes in areas under Alert Level 2, Vergeire added.
"Tumataas ang mga kaso pero halos lahat ay banayad or mild. Di po nating kailangan takutin ang mga kabataan o mga magulang," she said.
(Cases increased but nearly all were mild. We don't need to scare our children or their parents.)
"Ang kailangan bigyan ng mas madaming proteksyon ang mga bata...para patuloy po nilang ma-enjoy ang paglabas ng bahay, makipaginteract sa mga bata sa kanilang lugar o di kaya'y makapasok na sa eskuwelahan."
(We need to give them more protection...so they can continue to enjoy going outside, interacting with other children in their area or go to their school.)
Government on Friday will begin the COVID-19 vaccination of children ages 5 to 11. A COVID vaccine for children below 5 has yet to be approved in the Philippines.
Adults are urged to get the jab to protect children who are not yet eligible, health authorities earlier said.
The Philippines has so far fully vaccinated 6.28 million children aged 12 to 17 as of Jan. 23, according to DOH data presented by Dr. Mary Ann Bunyi, president of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines.