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Over 48,000 children got sick with COVID-19 as of February — pedia group

/ 01:25 PM August 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Over 48,000 children aged 19 and below have so far been sick of COVID-19 as of February, the president of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society of the Philippines (PIDSP) said Thursday, citing data from the Department of Health (DOH).

Data presented by PIDSP President Dr. Mary Ann Bunyi in a media forum organized by the Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) showed that of the 48,411 confirmed COVID-19 cases from the said age group, 40.2 percent are from 15 to 20 years old, 23.8 percent are from 10 to 14 years old, 17.4 percent are from five to nine years old, and 18.5 percent are from four years old and below.

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She said that globally, children typically account for up to 15 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

According to Bunyi, more than 20 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 cases among children had underlying medical conditions.

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Recent reports state that COVID-19 cases are increasing among children. However, the DOH clarified that the increase in infections is being observed among all age groups.

“In general, symptoms of COVID-19 among Filipino children have remained to be mild,” Bunyi added. She noted that severe COVID-19 is commonly seen among children with “concomitant immuno-compromising medical conditions.”

“In order to improve the landscape of COVID-19 among Filipino children, it will be helpful to capture children with mild respiratory symptoms by testing them for COVID-19 especially if there’s a background of exposure and if he is residing in a high-risk transmission community,” Bunyi added.

She said more evidence is also needed to say that the Delta variant is more fatal for children.

“The scene seems to be the same—fewer children get hospitalized for COVID-19 than adults,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Fatima Gimenez, Vice President of the PIDSP, said that the majority of COVID-19 cases are still in the adult population. Among children, she said that “there are more cases in the adolescent age group and higher mortality in the very young but not as much as the adult population.” She did not provide exact figures, but she explained that those who are very young have not yet developed defenses in their bodies against COVID-19 unlike the older population.

Gimenez said the PSS and PIDSP recommend that the older and more vulnerable age groups still be given priority in the vaccination rollout, noting that adults are also the likely sources of infection for children.

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“Once a sufficient percentage has been vaccinated in the priority adult groups, children 12-years-old and above may be considered for vaccination, with priority given to those who live in areas with high transmission and those with comorbidities,” she suggested.

DOH data as of August 8 showed that 24 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country. More than 11.3 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against the disease.

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TAGS: Children, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society of the Philippines, Philippine Pediatric Society
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