COVID-19 vaccines are ‘not yet’ for children

Sorry kids, the COVID-19 vaccine is not for you - yet.

While the country is getting ready to implement its COVID-19 vaccination program, Dr. Leonila Dans, a clinical epidemiologist and pediatrician at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), said that children are not yet included in the vaccination schedule.

(Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a webinar entitled, “Who Should Not be Vaccinated for COVID-19?” organized by the by the University of the Philippines (UP) in partnership with the National Telehealth Center on Friday, Feb. 5, Dans emphasized that children should not be included in any COVID-19 vaccination initiatives because there is "no vaccine" that has been developed for the younger age group to date.

“At this point, children are not yet included among those who will receive the vaccine,” Dans said. “This is because when we do administer or grade the evidence, we depend a lot on the clinical trials that were performed for the new drugs or the vaccines that are being in question or being evaluated,” she added.

So far, Dans said that only one vaccine, Pfizer, has included older adolescents or 16 years old and above in their clinical trials. “At this point, only this vaccine might be used in older children,” she explained.

However, Dans reminded that for younger children or those 16 years old and below - especially for other vaccines that started 18 years and above for their clinical trials - vaccination is “definitely not yet allowed” at this time.

“It’s not because we don’t want to include them, it’s just because the vaccine for them is still being studied,” Dans said. “The use of vaccines in the younger age group is still being studied and eventually, maybe the children will still be vaccinated with this new vaccine,” she added.

Dans also discussed that should children be allowed to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in the future, there will also be special considerations during routine immunizations.

For instance, Dans said that caution should be observed when administering COVID-19 for children with severe allergies or history of anaphylaxis, those with bleeding disorders, and for immunocompromised children or those on immunosuppressants. “You have to discuss this with your physicians even when your children are receiving routine immunizations - especially for COVID-19 vaccines,” she added.

Dans said that parents should also consider delaying - for two weeks or up to one month - availing of vaccines for children who have “received immunoglobulins or blood products or those with severe illnesses.”