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Pediatric Vaccination for Kids 5-11 Begins, Not Mandatory - DOH

Medically reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Mar 09, 2022

    Pediatric Vaccination for Kids 5-11 Begins, Not Mandatory - DOH

    Pediatric vaccination for kids ages 5 to 11 finally begins in the Philippines on Monday, February 7. The Department of Health (DOH) is strongly encouraging parents to have their kids vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination will protect children from severe forms of COVID-19 and provide an additional layer of protection, said the DOH. That protection is paramount because a return to face-to-face schooling is being planned out.

    Pediatric vaccination not mandatory

    Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said in a radio interview on Sunday that pediatric vaccination is not mandatory. “Parents will give consent. We will also explain to the child what would happen during vaccination, what we will give them, the benefits of the vaccine and its side effects,” she said.

    The DOH shared that more than 8.7 million children have been vaccinated against COVID-19. No reports of deaths have been caused by the vaccine. Data from the DOH stated that 97.5% of those vaccinated did not experience side effects while 2.4% experienced mild side effects. Only 0.00013% experienced serious adverse events like myocarditis or pericarditis. All fully recovered though.

    Vaccines arrived on Friday

    The first batch of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine doses reformulated for kids ages 5 to 11 arrived on Friday, February 5. The shipment was delayed by a day and arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport onboard Air Hong Kong. There were 780,000 pediatric doses acquired by the government through the World Bank.

    US embassy charge d’affaires Heather Variava was at the airport when the vaccines landed. “This will make such a difference in the lives of all families in the Philippines,” she told reporters. “It will allow children to eventually get back to face-to-face learning, allow them to play with their friends and do important socializing,” 

    Pediatric vaccination was supposed to commence on February 4. Logistical challenges caused the delay. The DOH explained that the postponement occurred to ensure adequate preparation and distribution of the Pfizer vaccines.

    Opposition to pediatric vaccination

    Two parents vehemently opposed the pediatric vaccination last week. Former news reporter Dominic Almelor and Girlie Samonte asked the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to stop the vaccination. They contested a clause in the DOH rule that gives the government the power to give consent to a willing minor.

    Samonte had health problems months after being given the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine. The mother of two and Almelor are contesting DOH Memorandum No. 2022-0041. They do not want the state to act as parents patriae and give consent for a willing minor to get vaccinated if the parent/guardian does not give consent. Their petition claims that the clause violates the Family Code provisions on parental authority.

    Cricket Chen warned about the potential impact of the COVID-19 vaccine on the future of children’s health. Chen is a doctor specializing in anthroposophic medicine or “anthromedics.” Anthromedics views humans as consisting of body, soul, and spirit. These factors serve as the basis for diagnosis and treatment.

    Chen spoke at a virtual forum of the Alliance for Filipinos for Freedom and Informed Choice (AFFIC). “What I learned from anthroposophic medicine is that in the first seven years of life, our physical bodies [are still] developing the organs,” she said.

    Vaccines are voluntary and safe

    Undersecretary Cabotaje said that pediatric vaccination is not mandatory. “It has been proven abroad and we’re not the ones to start the [pediatric vaccination]. It has begun in many countries, including the United States, France, Malaysia, Singapore, and China,” she said.

    She clarified that parents and children will be signing consent form s at the vaccination sites, not waivers. The Philippine Health Insurance Corp. can pay a certain percentage of the cost. It can provide benefits if anything happens to a child and is traced to the vaccine.

    Key takeaways

    Pediatric vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 is finally commencing on February 7 after some delays. The first shipment of reformulated Pfizer BioNTech vaccines arrived via Air Hong Kong on Friday. There has been some opposition to the planned vaccination for this age group. A couple of parents asked the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to prevent vaccination without parental consent. Another group warned that kids that age are still developing. Health Undersecretary Cabotaje vouched for the safety of the vaccine and assured that vaccination is not mandatory.

    For more on Coronavirus, click here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Dexter Macalintal, MD

    Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Mar 09, 2022

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