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  • Pedias In The U.S. Urge FDA To Authorize COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids ASAP

    Also, Philippine pedias say not enough evidence that Delta variant is more severe in children.
    by Maita de Jesus .
Pedias In The U.S. Urge FDA To Authorize COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids ASAP
PHOTO BY Jerome Ascano
  • We have been seeing a rising numbers of Filipino children getting COVID-19, alarming many parents.

    According to the breakdown of 6,879 active cases last August 3, 2021, 21 were babies, 52 were 1-year-old patients, 20 cases of 2-year olds, and 28 were age 3.

    These numbers are small when you compare them to the Philippine population, but COVID-19 has been tenacious. The virus continues to mutate and the Delta variant, which has caused large waves of infections in India, has forced many Philippine cities to go back to ECQ.

    However, in a joint statement, the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP) say more data is needed about the impact of Delta variant on kids.

    “Currently, there is yet no concrete evidence to support that this variant is more virulent and may cause more severe disease in children.”

    The World Health Organization had the same message earlier. WHO's COVID-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said in a press conference, “Let me be very clear: we are not seeing the Delta variant specifically target children.”

    She also said the evidence showed that the variant was being transmitted among people who were socially mixing.   

    What many global experts agree on, however, is kids may need the COVID-19 vaccine more urgently than ever.

    In the United States, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) urged the U.S. FDA “to continue working aggressively towards authorizing safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines” under the age of 12, citing “the rise of the hyper infectious Delta variant.”

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    The group stated in a letter dated August 5, 2021, “The data show 71,726 COVID cases in children reported last week, almost double the 38,654 reported in the previous week.

    “Simply stated, the Delta variant has created a new and pressing risk to children and adolescents across this country, as it has also done for unvaccinated adults.”

    AAP also added, “In our view, the rise of the Delta variant changes the risk-benefit analysis for authorizing vaccines in children.”

    As of this writing, the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use for kids by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration is Pfizer. Sinovac, the vaccine brand accessible to most Filipinos, is undergoing the application process in the FDA.

    When it comes to our local vaccination drive, the DOH states that further clinical trials are needed. However, a steady supply of approved vaccines is necessary before vaccinating those 18 years old and below.

    “Results from Phase II and Phase III trials of COVID-19 vaccines are currently insufficient for the pediatric age group (<18 yrs old), limiting health experts from formulating any recommendations. Further studies will help in the future inclusion of children for vaccination.”

    The PPS and PIDSP support this, stating, “[We] recommend that the older and more vulnerable adult age groups should still be given precedence in the vaccination roll-out. Once a sufficient percentage has been vaccinated in the priority adult groups, children 12 years old and above may be considered for vaccination, with priority given to those who live in areas with high transmission and those with co-morbidities.”

    In the meantime, the PPS and PIDSP say the best way Filipinos can protect their children is through the “cocoon strategy,” wherein those who live with the child must be vaccinated.

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    “The best way to protect children against COVID-19 is to vaccinate the adults who take care of them. Vaccinating qualified adult household members not only protect these individuals, but also extends protection to children and other vulnerable persons who cannot be vaccinated.”

    Read here more about protecting your kids from COVID-19.  

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