A doctors’ group has joined other members of the medical profession in urging the government to allow only children who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in malls and other commercial areas.
Philippine Medical Society (PMS) president Dr. Benito Atienza proposed this in a recent meeting with members of the Batangas Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19.
Atienza, who hails from San Jose, Batangas, said that access to commercial areas should be an incentive for children who have been vaccinated as he reminded parents to limit bringing kids to malls especially those aged four and below.
He added that the current data shows that there is a high mortality rate among children four and below who are infected with the virus.
Atienza said the PMS will also seek cooperation from the Department of Trade and Industry to graft rules for play areas inside malls due to fear of high transmission in these areas which may result in new COVID cases.
Batangas Provincial IATF Incident Commander Dr. Gerald Alday expressed his support to the proposed measure and said the request will be forwarded to the national IATF.
In Mindanao, the Philippine Medical Association in General Santos City has also urged the city government to keep kids out of malls.
Kids’ mobility amid the pandemic has been an issue of debate across the country. Metro Manila mayors have deferred to the national IATF on whether to restrict the movements of minors below 12 years old, or those who are not yet covered by the vaccination rollout in the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte, however, had urged local government units to craft ordinances that would prohibit minors below 12 to enter malls. Malacañang said LGUs would be in the best position to decide on the matter.
In December 2020, prior to the vaccination rollout that now covers children aged 12 to 17, the Philippine Pediatric Society and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines rejected plans to allow children to enter malls, saying the risk of catching COVID-19 in such places outweigh any benefit. – Rappler.com