(PNA file photo by Ben Briones)

MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) is still studying the vaccination of children four years old and below against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

In a media forum on Tuesday, DOH officer-in-charge Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said such vaccination would need to go through the process of evaluation before it could start in the country.

Patuloy pa rin pong pinag-aaralan ito ng ating mga eksperto, although, nababalitaan na natin at nababasa sa ibang bansa ngayon (Our experts are studying this, although, we’ve heard and read in other countries now) that they already have evidence,” she added.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvaña said the United States has approved the Covid-19 vaccination for children five years old and below.

He noted this measure is “very important”.

Habang may butas po tayo sa ating immunity wall, lalo na doon sa mga below five years old, pwede po iyan maging parang reservoir ng virus at pwede pong nagmu-mutate diyan iyong virus (If we have a hole on our immunity wall, especially among below five years old, that could be a reservoir of virus at the virus can mutate there),” he said.

“We’re thinking that it’s just a matter of time na maaprubahan dito and hopefully maru-rollout na rin para mas mabawasan iyong pwedeng mahawa at magkaroon ng severe Covid dito sa Pilipinas (for that to be approved here and hopefully rolled out to lessen the ones who could be infected and have severe Covid-19 here in the Philippines),” he added.

As of Sept. 12, almost 72.8 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated. Of the tally, more than 9.9 million are adolescents while 4.9 million are young children.

More than 18.6 million individuals have received their first booster dose and more than 2.5 million have received their second booster shots. (PNA)