No side effects reported as pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations start in PH

Aleta Nieva Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2021 09:34 AM | Updated as of Oct 16 2021 09:46 AM

Children line-up to get inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine at the Pasig City General Hospital in Pasig City on October 15, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Children line-up to get inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine at the Pasig City General Hospital in Pasig City on October 15, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— The first day of COVID-19 vaccinations of children with comorbidities in Metro Manila went smoothly with no reported side effects, the Department of Health said Saturday.

“Smooth naman ang naging proseso at pinakamaganda wala pong nagkaroon ng side effect kasi nakahanda naman po kasi nasa ospital naman sila kung magkaroon ng untoward incident,” said DOH National Capital Region Director Dr. Gloria Balboa.

(The process went smoothly and what’s good about this is that no one experienced any side effect because we were ready for any untoward incident since they are in the hospital.)

The Philippines on Friday began vaccinating children aged 12 to 17 with health risks in eight hospitals namely the Philippine General Hospital, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children’s Hospital, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center and Makati Medical Center.

A total of 1,151 children were vaccinated and none had side effects, said Balboa.

In an interview with TeleRadyo, Balboa said the children received the COVID-19 vaccine developed by US drugmaker Pfizer which, along with Moderna are the two COVID-19 vaccine brands approved for use in minors in the Philippines. 

Vaccinated children were monitored for 15 to 30 minutes to check for immediate side effects, said Balboa.

Balboa said they will roll out the second week of the inoculation program in local government unit hospitals, and on the third week in vaccination sites in Metro Manila and other regions that have inoculated 50 percent or more of their senior citizens.

“Kailangang mabalanse na, itong more vulnerable sila muna 'yung mabigyan ng sapat na coverage para makampante tayo bago pumunta sa mga bata,” she said.

(We need to balance it giving enough coverage starting with the more vulnerable before we go to the children.)

Children with any of the 11 comorbidities that the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines cite are eligible for vaccination: autoimmune disorders, neurologic conditions, metabolic and endocrine conditions, cardiovascular disease, obesity, HIV infection, tuberculosis, chronic respiratory disease, renal disorders, and hepatobiliary conditions.

Children must first get clearance from their doctors and consent from their parents, the DOH said.

Meanwhile, Balboa said the capital region is slowly showing signs of improvement in terms of COVID-19 indicators.

“Dito sa NCR as of Oct. 13 na data natin, meron po tayong new cases na lang na 1,553. This is a lot lower than the previous na nagkakaroon tayo and then pati 'yung ating mga case fatality rate bumababa na rin. 'Yung ating health care utilization rate 48.9 percent na, dati po 'yan umaabot ng 70 percent,” she said. 

(Based on our data as of Oct. 13, our new cases was at 1,553. This is a lot lower than what we previously had and then our case fatality rate also decreased. Our health care utilization rate is at 48.9 percent, which before reached 70 percent.) 

She said ICU rate remains high at about 60 percent, as patients with critical cases take longer time to recover.

“'Yan ang gusto nating mangyari na magtuloy-tuloy na ang pagbaba ng ating mga kaso. Pero hindi tayo dapat magpakampante kasi niluluwagan na rin ang ating mga restrictions sa ngayon so kung 'yung ating minimum public health standard ‘di natin ma-maintain, 'yung possibility na tataas ulit nandyan lagi,” she said.

(That’s what we want to happen— for cases to continue going down. But we should not be too confident as restrictions have been eased and if minimum public health standards are not observed, the possibility of cases going up again is still there.)

Metro Manila shifted to Alert Level 3 on Saturday, which allows for greater economic activity, as COVID-19 cases have been on decline. 

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