Vax drive targets over 1M kids aged 5 to 11 in WV

Around 1,080,597 children aged 5 to 11 years old in Western Visayas have been targeted for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pediatric vaccination, which is expected to be tentatively rolled out in the region on Valentine’s Day.

“Covid-19 vaccine of all types at all age group continues to protect against severe disease and especially deaths,” said Dr. Renilyn Reyes, head of the Public Health Program Development Cluster of the Department of Health in Western Visayas.

She said that vaccines provide an additional safeguard for gatherings and safe reopening of schools, among others, as well as build “cocoon protection” for those who cannot be vaccinated.

Once the reformulated Pfizer vaccine doses arrive in the region within this week, she said that they will immediately be prepositioned in various local government units (LGUs) and vaccination sites in the region.

“The rollout would be gradual just like our adult and 12 to 17 years old. It would be fun and challenging because these are kids,” she added.

The highest target of kid vaccine recipients is from Negros Occidental with 363,249, followed by Iloilo province with 267,470 and Capiz with 102,122.

Other areas included Aklan with 84,356; Antique, 95,437; Guimaras, 24,354; Bacolod City, 81,737; and Iloilo City with 61,872.

Reyes said vaccination sites could adopt their own strategy to make their center conducive to children.

Preferably, she said that it would be better if they could not see when the inoculation is being administered to other kids so they won’t be able to see their reaction.

Parents are also advised to talk with their kids ahead of their vaccination schedule so they won’t get afraid on the day of the inoculation.

“Vaccination sites should be kids friendly. It would depend on the vaccination sites of local government units,” she added.

Reyes said that based on data, the side effect of vaccines on children is mild. Citing statistics, she said that those with serious adverse effects are only 2.4 percent and 97.6 percent have no side effects.

Mild side effects include fever, pain in the injection site, fatigue, and headache.

It is recommended that children showing mild side effects should be observed within one to two days and if they persist, they can call their pediatrician.

Data from the DOH data showed that 12 percent or 21,713 of the 176,638 Covid-19 cumulative cases in the region are children 17 years old and below.

There were also 62 cases of pediatric deaths, 27 of whom are children below 5 years old.

“This means that our children are not spared from the Covid-19 infection,” she added. (PNA)