MANILA TIMESThe pilot implementation of vaccination for the younger population will be done through phases, starting with those aged 12 to 17 years, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said.
Citing approved operational guidelines for the pediatric vaccination eyed to begin on October 15, Galvez added that the inoculation of those 15 to 17 years old will be done first, followed by the 12 to 14 age group.
“The initial rollout will only involve a couple of thousands [of] individuals under the age group. It will be phased, monitored and sequential,” he said during the launch of the Philippine Vaccine Certificate and Bakuna Panalo Ka raffle promo on Monday.
“Naniniwala kami na dapat nang masimulan ang pagbabakuna sa mga kabataan upang mabigyan na sila ng agarang proteksyon laban sa Covid-19. Ito rin ang magiging susi sa ating pagbubukas ng mga paaralan para sa limited face-to-face classes (We believe that we need to inoculate our younger population so that they will also be protected against Covid-19. This will be the key to our opening of limited face-to-face classes in our schools),” Galvez added.
Minors with comorbidities will be prioritized at jabs sites at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children’s Hospital, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center and Philippine General Hospital.
The Food and Drug Administration initially approved the emergency use authorization of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the inoculation.
Galvez, also the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF), assured the public that pediatric vaccination was closely studied before approval.
“Nagkakaroon po kami ng continuous research. Also, ‘yung mga ginagawang vaccination ng mga different countries (We are also conducting continuous research based on the vaccination held in different countries),” he said.
After the 14-day test run in the six hospitals, the vaccination will be expanded to other local government units (LGUs) within the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila), which include Manila, Pasig, Taguig, Makati, Quezon City and Mandaluyong.
“After 30 days, magkakaroon na po tayo ng rollout sa buong NCR at sa mga areas na meron na po tayong average na more than 50 percent ‘yung mga A2 na vaccinated na (After 30 days, we will roll out this program in the entire NCR and in other areas that have vaccinated 50 percent of their A2 population),” he said.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque 3rd said the rollout for this particular age group requires parental consent.
Duque explained that the pilot implementation needs to be conducted in hospitals to ensure the safety of the children and provide them with immediate medical attention in case of adverse effects post-immunization.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. said Metro Manila LGUs are all set to inoculate their younger population.
He added that the preregistration for this age group had started prior to the go-signal of the NTF, as local government units are now in the process of determining the number of individuals with comorbidities.
“They have been doing the preregistration of minors. It’s just a matter of identifying those who have comorbidities of those in the list. All the mayors are ready. They’re very enthusiastic about the pilot, especially the children. They are very much prepared,” Abalos said.
The NTF is set to allocate 60 million doses of vaccines for the inoculation of this age group, which has a total population of around 26 to 29 million.
Galvez said the Philippines is on track in hitting the 100 million-mark in terms of vaccines received since February, as total arrivals have reached 77.4 million doses.
“The arrival of US-Covax donations this month is very significant. Covax donations now account for 19,653,730 doses. We expect to receive 6.7 million more this October including the 844,800 AstraZeneca vaccines from the German-Covax donation,” he added.
The vaccine czar said the government is due to sign a supply agreement with Johnson & Johnson for the procurement of around 6 million doses of the one-shot Janssen vaccines.
The doses, he added, will be part of the deliveries in January 2022.
The NTF is negotiating with four manufacturers for the country’s vaccine allocation next year composed of 90 to 100 million doses, according to Galvez.