The race to vaccinate all citizens of the world, from the oldest to the youngest, is on track. This is welcome news as the Department of Health (DOH) announced that minors, aged five to 11, will be vaccinated starting Feb. 4, 2022. The vaccine that will be used is the one manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, which has recently secured emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This new directive from the DOH allows more minors to be vaccinated, following the mandate to allow jabs to be administered to the 12 to 17-year-old demographic. The DOH also noted that a lower dosage and lower concentration will be given to the five to 11 years old vaccine recipients. Parents can now enlist their children with their respective local government units.
Vaccinating minors is part of the global effort to vaccinate all citizens, a drive which stresses the point that “no one is safe until everyone is safe.” Filipino parents would be comforted with the fact that it is not only our own DOH that is stressing the importance of vaccination and highlighting the efficacy and safety of the vaccines. In fact, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also supported vaccinations for children between the ages of five and 11.
“Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect children ages five years and older from getting COVID-19,” a statement from the CDC said. “Vaccinating children can help protect family members, including siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and family members who may be at increased risk of getting very sick if they are infected.”
Vaccination, the CDC added, can also help “keep children from getting seriously sick even if they do get COVID-19. Help protect your whole family and slow the spread of COVID-19 in your community by getting yourself and your children ages five years and older vaccinated.”
To douse any doubts on the vaccine, the CDC said that scientists have already conducted clinical trials with thousands of children and came up with this conclusion: “No serious safety concerns were identified (referring to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine).” It also added: “The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. Get a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five years and older as soon as you can.”
Even international doctors’ groups have supported the recommendation of the CDC, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which urged children to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “Being vaccinated is especially important now with the rise in cases caused by the Delta variant and Omicron variant of the virus.”
With all these statements, and clinical trials backing up their recommendations, there is no reason why Filipino parents should be wary of the vaccines. National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. also assured the nation that supply of Pfizer vaccines will be steady. Starting Feb. 4, more than 10 million of the five to 11-year-old minors would become eligible for a vaccine. This is a right step into herd immunity, which would protect the majority of the population, and lead us to better days and brighter times.