Kids with underlying illnesses 'more vulnerable' to severe COVID-19 — expert

Published August 10, 2021, 6:24 PM

by Gabriela Baron

Kids with underlying medical illnesses are “more vulnerable” to severe coronavirus disease (COVID-19), an infectious disease expert said Tuesday, Aug. 10.


In an interview with CNN Philippines, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society of the Philippines (PIDSP) President Dr. Mary Ann Bunyi also said that infants are more vulnerable to severe COVID-19.

“According to international data, infants have slightly higher risk of developing severe COVID, even children with underlying medical illnesses, they can also have more severe COVID-19 compared to the general pediatric population,” Bunyi said in Filipino.

“When you have an underlying medical illness, your immune system cannot fight off viruses properly. In infants, their immune system is still immature to fight off the virus, that’s why they are the ones most affected by severe COVID-19,” she explained.

However, Bunyi noted that severe COVID-19 is “very seldom” in the general pediatric population.

“COVID-19 still affects the adult population more because children are not the primary target of COVID-19, because if we will notice in the general pediatric population, either their symptoms are mild or they exhibit no symptoms at all,” she added.

On Tuesday, the Pediatric Society of the Philippines and PIDSP urged the adult members of the family to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect kids from the viral illness.

Bunyi stressed that vaccinating adult households “indirectly” protects children who cannot be vaccinated yet.

READ MORE: PGH records 6 pediatric COVID-19 cases, 3 critical, Tala Hospital logs 8 pediatric COVID-19 cases