Doctor stresses safety of COVID-19 jab for kids amid parents’ concerns

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 04 2022 09:23 AM

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MANILA – Adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are rare, a doctor noted, after two parents on Thursday asked a Quezon City court to stop the inoculation of children aged 5 to 11.

“There have been a lot of studies, especially abroad, in the US, to say that these adverse reactions are rare and do not really count as to be considered of concern in this vaccination,” said Dr. Antonio Pascual, who heads the COVID-19 vaccination team at the Philippine Heart Center.

The hospital is one of the three medical facilities in Quezon City that will serve as a vaccination site for young children when the jab program rolls out on Monday.

“One thing is, for example, this myocarditis that I’ve been talking about. There is… 4 to 5 percent chance that people may have myocarditis when they contract COVID-19. But with vaccines, the chances of having COVID is only about 0.0001.”

“So, considering now the benefits of this vaccine, these adverse reaction are very far-fetched and they come in very rarely,” Pascual said. “So they should not be of concern when you consider the benefits of vaccination.”

The doctor said the COVID-19 jab has already been tested a lot of times, when asked about the “experimental nature” of the vaccine, as stated by one of the petitioners.

“Actually, first things first, is that these are no longer experimentation. Because in the implementation of vaccine, for any drug for that matter, there are several phases that have to be undertaken,” Pascual said.

“We are already past that experimentation and observation of these side effects,” he stressed.

The World Health Organization, in November last year, said that in phase 2 and 3 trials for the mRNA vaccines of Pfizer and Moderna, “efficacy and immunogenicity were similar or higher compared to adults; safety and reactogenicity profiles in adolescents were similar to young adults.”

Although the WHO cited “very rare signal of myocarditis/pericarditis” connected with mRNA vaccines, these cases, it said, occurred more often in younger men aged 16 to 24.

The Philippines will use the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine when it starts inoculating children aged 5 to 11.

-- ANC, 4 February 2022