(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Medical Association (PMA) has expressed its support for the pediatric vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years old against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

In a statement, the PMA warned that Covid-19 directly affects children and could put them at risk of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

"While it is true that most present as mild or asymptomatic cases, some may develop more serious consequences such as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, and even death," the group said in a statement.

The pandemic, it said, has adversely affected the growth, mental health, learning, and health-seeking behaviors of children and their families.

The group said it fully supports the efforts of the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force against Covid-29 (NTF) to protect the Filipino children against Covid-19 through vaccination.

It noted that the available Covid-19 vaccines for the 5-11 age group have undergone extensive evaluation from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

To date, the Pfizer vaccine is being used for pediatric vaccination as it is the only jab that has received emergency use approval for kids aged 5 to 11 years old from the Philippines' FDA.

The Pfizer vaccine for children has a lower dosage and lower concentration than those given to minors aged 12 to 17, who started receiving their jabs in October 2021.

“They have been found to be safe and effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 and its complications. Providing Covid-19 vaccines will help reduce the disease burden in this age group," it said.

The PMA urged parents to discuss their concerns regarding vaccination with healthcare providers.

"The PMA continues to call upon all members of the eligible population groups to exercise good judgment, to obtain and disseminate information only from reputable sources," the group’s statement read.

Originally set to start Friday last week, vaccination for the 5 to 11 pediatric population began Monday after it was delayed due to logistical challenges in the delivery of reformulated Pfizer vaccine for kids.

The program aims to vaccinate a total of 15,564,305 children within the age bracket. (PNA)