Press Release
August 5, 2021

Pangilinan supports Covid vaccines for children as more get infected

AS THE Philippine General Hospital (PGH) reports full capacity of ICU beds for children with Covid-19, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan seeks to secure Filipino children against the disease.

"Sa gabay ng mga eksperto, posible kayang mabakunahan na rin ang ating mga kabataan 12 to 15 years old? (Under the guidance of health experts, would it be possible to also start vaccinating our children 12 to 15 years old?)" Pangilinan said.

"Dahil na rin mas nakakahawa ang Delta variant, hindi sapat ang lockdown lang. Kailangan ng ayuda. Kailangan ng testing. Kailangan ng mas maraming bakuna (Given how highly transmissible the Delta variant is, a lockdown alone will not be enough. We need aid. We need more testing. We need more vaccines. We need to ramp up vaccinations and possibly start including our children too)," he added.

In June, the Department of Health (DOH) said the Food and Drug Administration on May 28 amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) of Pfizer to include the 12-15 age group, based on the recommendation of a vaccine experts panel. The original EUA issued to Pfizer indicated its use for those 16 years and older.

"Masaya tayong nakapagbakuna tayo ng higit 673,000 sa isang araw noong Martes. Ipagpatuloy lang natin ang ganitong pagpapabakuna. Itaas din ang bilang ng testing at contact-tracing, at sisiguruhin nating magdadagdag ng suporta sa ating healthcare system (We are glad that the we have vaccinated over 673,000 Filipinos in one day last Tuesday. Let's continue this vaccination campaign. Also increase our testing and contact-tracing, and we'll also work toward adding more support to our healthcare system)," the senator said.

Pangilinan also commits to pushing for an increase in the budget of PGH, the country's premier Covid referral center, in the upcoming 2022 budget deliberations.

"Nakakabahala na nagkakaubusan na muli ng ICU beds lalo na ngayon pati mga bata ay sobrang naapektuhan na ng Covid. Malinaw na kailangan pa ng dagdag na suporta ng PGH at iba pang mga ospital (The lack of ICU beds is worrying especially now when even children are affected by Covid. Clearly PGH and other hospitals need more support)," he said.

The PGH on Tuesday, August 3, has registered a full capacity of its Covid-19 intensive care units for children.

At present, the PGH has only 8 allocated beds for pediatric Covid-19 patients.

"Ang budget lamang ng PGH para sa taong ito ay P6.87 billion. On top of being a Covid referral center, syempre nariyan pa rin ang daily operations ng ospital. If we aim to reform our healthcare system, we should start by giving more budget to where it is needed the most -- lalo na kung buhay ng ating mga kabataan ang nakataya," Pangilinan said.

The budget of the PGH is under the appropriations for the University of the Philippines System.

For 2021, it has seen a budget increase of P2.9 billion from its P4 billion budget in 2020. Its budget for 2018 and 2019 are only P3 billion and P3.2 billion respectively.

As of August 4, the Philippines has reported 1,619,824 Covid-19 cases. Delta variant cases are at 216, with 17 active cases.

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