Philippines begins vaccination of minors with comorbidities


A total of 1,031 minors were inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine following the kick off of the pediatric vaccination of children with comorbidities aged between 12 to 17 in select hospitals in Metro Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) reported on Friday.

The DOH said that as of 4:00 p.m., the National Vaccine Operations Center (NVOC) reported that majority of the children received the vaccine at the Philippine Heart Center, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City, and Pasig City Children’s Hospital.

Other participating hospitals are: Philippine General Hospital, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, and National Children’s Hospital (NCH).

There are around 1.2 million children with comorbidities aged 12 to 17 in the country, according to DOH.

Children with following comorbidities are eligible for vaccination: 1) medical complexity (i.e., those with long-term dependence on technical support); 2) genetic conditions; 3) neurologic conditions; 4) metabolic/endocrine diseases; 5) cardiovascular diseases; 6) obesity; 7) HIV infection; 8) tuberculosis; 9) chronic respiratory diseases; 10) renal disorders; 11) hepatobiliary diseases; and 12) immunocompromised due to disease or treatment.

The pediatric vaccination rollout was launched at the NCH, which was attended by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and National Task Force for Covid- 19 Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

The DOH said as part of the wider coverage of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout in the country, children in this age group with comorbidities are scheduled to receive the vaccine with the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization, namely, Pfizer and Moderna.

The initial run of the vaccination will also be conducted in hospitals where children will be screened and monitored by doctors, and facilitating referrals will be easier in case of serious adverse events following immunization. It will also be conducted in a phased approach, wherein part of the expansion plan is implementing it in regions where there is more than 50 percent coverage for Priority Group A2.

“By giving protection to these children, we also protect their loved ones,” Duque said.

While the pilot implementation of pediatric vaccination has started, DOH said it continuously encourages the adult population, especially senior citizens, to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccines are available in their respective areas.

Likewise, the DOH urged everyone, even the fully-vaccinated, to continue practicing minimum public health standards to protect from getting infected and infecting others with Covid-19.

“The DOH and the Covid-19 NVOC have likewise conducted several town hall meetings with concerned stakeholders like hospital chiefs and directors, vaccination teams, and even parents to cascade the operational guidelines and other pertinent preparations that the DOH and implementing sites are undertaking for the pilot rollout,” the DOH said.

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