On the journey to achieving herd immunity, everyone must get vaccinated. Let’s take a look at the news about the vaccination for children aged 5- 11 in this article.
COVID Outbreak in Review
On December 31, 2019, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). Starting on January 30, 2020, the WHO labeled the COVID-19 outbreak a worldwide health emergency. Here in the Philippines, exactly March 7, 2020, schools and big universities were forced to cancel classes due to the fear of the spread and infection of the virus. Initially, students and educational institutions were under the assumption that class suspensions would only last a few days, but rather it turned out not only lasting from months but rather years. From this, the COVID-19 outbreak has forced the closure of educational institutions all around the world, putting the academic calendars in jeopardy. It is also evident that workers in the informal economy are among those who have lost and suffered the most. Millions of individuals have lost their jobs as a result of the closure of businesses.
Far worse, many people, most especially the impoverished people, are left hungry as they don’t have enough money to buy even a single meal. What’s more distressing is that the coronavirus disease has caused and claimed the lives of millions of people across the world. With the uncertainty that we can survive and withstand the virus even if we get it. Hence, it is apparent that all segments of the population are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
In order to combat this deadly coronavirus disease outbreak, the COVID-19 vaccines are the greatest shot of preventing the coronavirus pandemic, saving people’s lives, and ensuring a worldwide economic recovery. There are different benefits of COVID-19 vaccines. The first is that it reduces your chance of infection by stimulating the production of antibodies against the coronavirus by the time you get your first shot. If you are exposed to the virus, these antibodies help your immune system fight it, lowering your risk of contracting the disease. Yet, it is evident that even after being vaccinated, one can still become infected, but once more people are vaccinated, the population develops herd immunity. Getting vaccinated not only significantly reduces your risk of infection, but also contributes to community protection, lowering the risk of transmission of the virus. Finally, the vaccine protects us from serious illnesses. During studies, the three vaccines which are Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer have been demonstrated to be efficacious in avoiding COVID-19-related severe illness. As a result, if you are vaccinated and become infected, you are not likely to have a serious illness.
Vaccination in Children
As per the National Covid-19 Vaccination Dashboard, the Philippines has now given out 59,134,236 doses of the vaccine across the country. It is apparent that the country has already targeted the majority of its people to get vaccinated and that the government is now eyeing the vaccination of at least 13.5 million children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old against the COVID-19 virus. According to a briefing given by Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the country has “adequate” or “enough” supplies to vaccinate Filipinos, especially adolescents aged five to 11. In the inoculation of minors, only Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are used. According to interim results from a trial that comes just before an FDA hearing to examine the injections for children, the Moderna vaccine is evidently safe for children aged 6-11 years old and stimulates a “robust” immune response after two lower doses. After one month after receiving half the adult dosage, children who received half the adult dose had a strong immune response. For its side effects to children, the most common adverse effects were headache, fatigue, fever, and pain at the injection site, although most of these were mild to moderate in intensity.
Read Also: Are Children More at Risk from Omicron?
The Food and Drug Administration has also already approved and authorized the lower dosage of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the emergency use in the vaccination of children in this particular age group. As the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been determined to meet the FDA’s standards for being approved for use in an emergency, the known and potential benefits of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children under the age of 5 outweigh the known and possible hazards, according to all available scientific evidence. The majority of the side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were mild to moderate in severity and went away within one to two days of immunization.
In the statement of Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, “The FDA is committed to making decisions that are guided by science that the public and healthcare community can trust. We are confident in the safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing data behind this authorization. As part of our commitment to transparency around our decision-making, which included our public advisory committee meeting earlier this week, we have posted documents today supporting our decision and additional information detailing our evaluation of the data will be posted soon. We hope this information helps build the confidence of parents who are deciding whether to have their children vaccinated”.
Despite the fact that the country has enough supplies of vaccines available and there are systems in place to ensure their safety, some parents are nonetheless apprehensive about their children’s immunizations. The COVID-19 vaccine’s long-term health effects, as well as the possibility of their children dying as a result of it, are the main worries of parents. Yet is evident that children who are not vaccinated and contract COVID-19 may develop long-term complications, such as hospitalization, multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), or death as a result of the infection. Moreover, some parents are aware from studies that the COVID-19 virus is less dangerous in children. Regardless of this, it is important for these children to get vaccinated because every time they are infected with the virus, they are a potential source of infection. Children can spread it to others who are more vulnerable, and they can help to perpetuate a type of virus that could lead and result in a new variant. Ultimately, the COVID-19 virus has caused the lives of millions of people. Having children from ages 5 to 11 years old get COVID-19 vaccines is scientifically proven safe for them. It is important to get them vaccinated as prevention from the virus is better than cure.
Written by Jayson Cervantes