'Cocoon strategy': Adults urged to get vaccinated vs COVID-19 to protect children

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2021 02:54 PM

Health workers and medical frontliners attend to residents at a vaccination site
Health workers and medical frontliners attend to residents at a vaccination site at the Sta. Ana Elementary School in Manila on August 13, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Adults are urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect their children at home, pediatricians said Wednesday as cases among the youth rise due to the more transmissible Delta variant.

Some 10 percent of the country's total COVID-19 cases are children, the Philippine General Hospital earlier said. 

In the country, only Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use among minors who are not yet part of the government's list of priority recipients. 

The "cocoon strategy" involves adults getting full protection against COVID-19 and observing minimum health standards to avoid infecting children, according to Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, member of the Department of Health's Technical Advisory Group.

Lim earlier told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo that the rise of virus cases among children was in the context that cases in all age groups were increasing due to the higher viral load of the Delta variant.

"Pinapalibutan natin ng mga adults na protektado ang mga batang di pa natin pwedeng bakunahan. Hindi lamang ito magbibigay ng proteksyon para sa mga bata kundi na rin sa mga taong tumanggap ng bakuna," she said during a virtual DOH town hall.

(Children who cannot be vaccinated yet will be surrounded by fully protected adults. It will not only give protection to the children but also to those who received the vaccine.)

"'Pag nabakunahan lahat ng matatanda na kasama ng mga bata sa bahay, indirectly mapoprotektahan ang mga bata," added Dr. Mary Ann Bunyi, president of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines.

(If all the adults with the child have been vaccinated, the kid will be protected indirectly.)

Fully-vaccinated individuals must also still undergo COVID-19 testing and quarantine when exposed to virus patients, said Lim.

"Kinikilala natin na ang bakuna ay isa lamang sa mga layers ng protection na puwede nating pakinabangan. Hindi siya kapalit kundi karagdagang proteksyon," she said.

(Vaccines are only one among the layers of protection we can use. It's not a replacement but additional protection.)

Some 12.7 million Filipinos are fully-vaccinated against COVID-19, while 15.5 million have yet to receive their second dose as of Sunday, government earlier said.

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Families and barangay health authorities are also reminded to closely coordinate in the event there is a need to transfer home-quarantined virus patients to an isolation facility or a hospital, said DOH undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

"Napakaimportante po ng navigation at triage system ng ating local governments dahil sa pamamagitan po nito, maisasaayos po natin ang pagpapadala ng mga pasyente sa tamang facility para hindi po napupuno ang ating mga ospital," she said.

(Local government's navigation and triage system is very important in sending individuals to the right facility so our hospitals don't get full.)

Local authorities must also conduct active case findings so they can be immediately isolated from the community, Vergeire added.

"Ito po ang isang susi na maaari nating gamitin sa lahat ating komunidad para po maputol natin ang transmission sa ating communities at kumonti na ang mga kaso," she said.

(This is one of the keys so we can cut transmission in our communities and cases will decline.)

The country on Tuesday recorded 10,035 new COVID-19 infections, bringing its total cases to 1,765,675. Of this figure, 105,787 remain active, the DOH said.

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