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  • 'We Are Protecting The Kids’ When Adults Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19: DOH

    One important reason to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
    by Kitty Elicay .
'We Are Protecting The Kids’ When Adults Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19: DOH
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/myboys.me
  • The Philippines jumpstarted its COVID-19 vaccination program at the start of the month and have already inoculated at least 240,000 frontliners, according to the Department of Health (DOH). But amidst the vaccine rollout, some individuals remain hesitant to get the shot.

    The DOH assures that the COVID-19 vaccines can protect you from asymptomatic/mild infection and can also prevent moderate to severe infection. But if you need one more reason to convince you, the agency says that getting vaccinated means protecting our children from getting the virus.

    The COVID-19 vaccines available in the market only have emergency use authorization in adults and older teens. “The first reason we’re unable to vaccinate kids now is because there’s no evidence,” explains Dr. Beverly Ho, DOH Director for Health Promotion and Communication Service and Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, in an exclusive interview called Sandwich Sessions with SmartParenting.com.ph and other Summit Media editors.

    “Alam naman natin na it's not the kids who are dying. The target population are actually adults. With that, we have no evidence that kids can receive the vaccine,” she adds.

    However, if enough adults get vaccinated against COVID-19, it may activate what we call herd immunity. This happens when enough people in a community are vaccinated against a certain disease, so infections won’t spread as easily, and fewer people get sick.

    Herd immunity is like a “free ride” for those who are unable to get the vaccine. For example, individuals who have severe allergy, immune-suppressing diseases, or young children. “When you have selected groups of people in your community who won't be able to get vaccinated, they will be protected already,” says Dr. Ho.

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    “If all the adults make sure that they are vaccinated, then in some ways, we are protecting the kids because they are going to be the beneficiaries of herd immunity,” adds the DOH director.

    However, Dr. Ho clarifies that herd immunity is not the primary goal of the COVID-19 vaccination program. The first and most urgent is to “radically decrease morbidity and mortality,” followed by the need to preserve the country’s healthcare system. Herd immunity is the last goal.

    There is a need to inoculate healthcare workers so that our health system won’t collapse, says Dr. Ho. “Then second, drastically reduce the people who go to the ICU because of COVID or drastically reduce the deaths. That’s why we [vaccinate] the senior citizens [next]. Tapos after na nun, we get to herd immunity,” she says.

    Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is important, especially if you're a parent of babies and young children. According to another expert, developmental and behavioral pediatrician Dr. Alexis Reyes, while the production process of vaccines were "fast tracked," it does not mean that it did not undergo careful study from the World Health Organization (WHO) at Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    "Think scientifically, not emotionally," she advises.

    The DOH also supports vaccination of pregnant and breastfeeding women. Click here to know more. Got questions about the COVID-19 vaccine? Click here for answers. 

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