Oliver Bugarin 0 0 0 5 min to read

Vax for children aged 3 to 5: Government asks to study

On Tuesday, a House leader urged the federal government and the Department of Health (DOH) to research and explore immunizing youngsters between the ages of 3 and 5 against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

While the number of children 3 to 5 years old with Covid-19 infection is lower than the number of adults with the disease, Deputy Majority Leader Lorenz Defensor stated in a press conference that they are still more susceptible to the infection and have a higher risk of transmission, especially with more lax health protocols being followed nationwide.

Our kids need more protection from COVID-19, especially in light of Malacaang’s recent order allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in open spaces without a lot of people. And I think that enrolling them in the government’s immunization program will provide them stronger immunity to the illness, Defensor said.

In light of the increased number of Covid-19 infections, Defensor has submitted House Resolution No. 270 demanding the DOH to include children aged 3 to 5 in the vaccination program.

The resolution said that “[c]hildren under the age of five have a higher risk of other diseases with clinical presentations that overlap with Covid-19, including pneumonia and other viral upper respiratory tract infections, which may lead to misclassification.”

In addition, Defensor stressed the value of using incentives to motivate Filipinos to receive their primary or booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccination.

‘Yung iba po may bigas, ‘yung iba po may cash incentive, ‘yung iba may discounts (Others give rice, cash incentive, or discounts),’ he said. ‘I believe that we should incentivize [boosters].’ Our LGUs (local government units) continue to pursue that practice.

He claimed that offering incentives is comparable to offering “ayuda,” or financial aid, which improves the lives of underprivileged Filipinos.

In addition to vaccinating, he added, “It’s also one method of reaching out. Parang ayuda na rin po iyon, especially to the weaker section of society” (It’s not just to vaccinate. It’s also meant as support, he said). “Papapuntahin mo sila sa vaccine site, mamamasahe naman sila eh. Kailangan din nilang may dala-dala pauwi” (If you ask them to go to the vaccination site, they would still have to pay for transportation. They need to bring something with them when they return home).

According to Defensor, offering incentives can influence parents to consent to give their kids the initial dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

They should get vaccinated. Dalawa lagi: (They should get vaccinated. Two things:) education, to encourage; and incentivise to encourage even more. It’s a difficulty now, but again we go back to education and we go back to motivating our parents and our children. Dapat sila mapabakuna.

He claimed that the national budget would be better utilized by immunizing more Filipinos because the money wouldn’t go to waste.

Additionally, it will reduce the likelihood of vaccine waste in light of the Department of Health’s (DOH) recent admission during ongoing budget hearings in the House that more than 20 million national vaccinations are no longer effective.

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