Two Chinese-Filipino medical doctors recently shared their thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic and on vaccines in an online event titled, Covid in Children & Covid-19 Vaccines, which was organized by the Alumni Association of Xavier School.
Drs. Vince Uy and Philip Tan-Gatue expressed enthusiasm regarding the development of the vaccines, while cautioning the public to still remain vigilant when going outside. Uy and Tan-Gatue earned their medical degrees from the University of Sto. Thomas and the University of the Philippines, respectively.
They started the webinar by explaining the difference between the terms, SARS-CoV2 and COVID-19. The terms are often used interchangeably, but are very different from one another.
“‘SARS-CoV2’ is the actual name of the novel coronavirus, while the term ‘COVID-19’ is describing the disease that is caused by SARS-CoV2. ‘SARS’ just means ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome,’” said Uy, a pediatrician and an alumnus of Xavier Batch 2000.
Children and COVID-19
Uy went on to talk about the health of children amid the pandemic.
“As a pediatrician, I am actually relieved to say that most kids who contract COVID-19 are not very sick. Only a handful of children who suffer from the disease will require intensive care,” said Uy. “Some theories behind this are that children are generally healthier. They have no medical problems. They are resilient, and they often carry different viruses in norm anyway.”
According to Uy, the most common COVID-19 symptom among children is fever, and their symptoms don’t generally differ from that of adults. However, Uy was also quick to caution that younger children, like toddlers, need to be given extra care because they are not necessarily as expressive of their well-being compared to older children.
Uy also talked about the important issue of online schooling, which, psychologically, may affect how children are able to interact with their peers.
“There are many key factors that will decide partial or full opening of schools, and these factors include, but are not limited to, the number of cases, schools’ capability to implement strict rules about hygiene, and the availability of vaccines.”
Because both the physical and psychological health of children are important, Uy stressed that when the time comes that schools start to re-open again, parents ought to decide what’s best for the children.
Tan-Gatue, an acupuncturist from Xavier School Batch of 1994, centered more on the history of vaccines, the implications of the development of the various COVID-19 vaccines and the dire importance of getting vaccinated against diseases.
Regarding the image above, Tan-Gatue said, “This is one picture that I like to show anti-vaxxers because some of their arguments are, and I quote, ‘Oh, polio is not gone because of the vaccine. Polio is gone because of improved sanitation’ and the like. What we have here are brothers who were exposed to smallpox at the same time. Guess who got vaccinated and guess who did not. I don’t think anyone will have the wrong answer.”
Regarding the history of the concept of vaccination, it has been around for at least one thousand years. According to him, the concept of intentionally exposing patients to the dry scabs of smallpox lesions in China was recorded by Arabic sources dated 1,000 years ago.
“So, the idea of exposing patients to a weakened version of the disease-causing material has been around for a thousand years,” Tan-Gatue said. This exposure to a weakened version of the virus not only doesn’t infect the person, but it also builds up in them the immunity needed to counter the actual virus, should a person be exposed.
As a staunch supporter of vaccines, Tan-Gatue urged the public to not be afraid of getting a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is available.
The author of this article:
An accomplished young Chinese Filipino writer and media personality, Aaron S. Medina is associated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and CHiNOY TV. He has a passion for truth, justice, and Pokémon, too! Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aaron.joseph.s.medina/