MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) said on Friday, February 4, that 69.2% of the reported COVID-19 cases among the pediatric group (those 17 years old and below) in January 2022 were children aged 0 to 11.
“The contribution of children 0 to 11 years old in the total pediatric cases is higher during the Omicron wave compared to Delta. Cases among the 0-11 age group comprised an average of 56% of the total pediatric cases in September and this climbed up to 69.2% in January,” the DOH said.
The recent surge in cases driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant saw infections increase among all age groups – with 18- to 59-year-olds seeing the biggest climb, followed by kids aged less than 5, and then 5- to 11-year-olds.
Though cases have been declining for the past days, daily infections are still higher than what’s being reported before the Omicron surge happened. The Philippines is now under “moderate risk” case classification. The country was placed under “critical risk” status on January 10 due to rising COVID-19 cases. On January 15, the it saw its highest daily COVID-19 cases at 39,004.
On Monday, February 7, the government is set to begin administering COVID-19 jabs to kids aged 5 to 11. It was pushed back from its initial schedule on Friday due to “logistical challenges.” The delivery of Pfizer vaccines was delayed and will only arrive on Friday.
“Vaccination of the eligible population ensures the protection of households and the community, as it prevents further transmission and mutation of the virus. We therefore encourage everyone to get the additional protection against COVID-19,” the DOH said.
The COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech will be used for the pediatric vaccination as this was the only vaccine that received emergency use approval for those aged 5 to 11 years from the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration.
The Pfizer vaccines to be administered to children aged 5 to 11 will have a lower dosage and lower concentration than those given to youths aged 12 to 17.
Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, who also heads the Philippines’ National Vaccine Operation Center, said the government aims to inoculate 15.5 million children aged 5 to 11 in the country.