CLARK, PAMPANGA (4 October 2021) – The operational guidelines for the inoculation of individuals aged 12 to 17 years old have been drafted as the government continues to expand the coverage of the vaccine rollout and inoculate at least 50% of the country’s target population by year-end.

This was announced by the National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. 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,” said Galvez.

“The initial rollout will only involve a couple of thousands [of] individuals under the age group. It will be phased, monitored, and sequential,” he added.

Two-phase implementation

The vaccine czar said the pilot implementation will be divided into two phases wherein the first to be inoculated are those within the 15 to 17 years old age bracket, to be followed by those aged 12 to 14 years old.

The pilot launch will be held in six sites, which include 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.

He said that after 14 days, the NTF will expand the rollout to select local government units in the National Capital Region (NCR), which include Manila, Pasig, Taguig, Makati, Quezon City, and Mandaluyong.

After 30 days of the rollout, the vaccination program will be opened to the rest of the NCR, including other regions that have inoculated at least 50% of their senior citizens or A2 group.

IATF Chairman and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that the rollout for this particular age group requires parental consent, as minors will be inoculated.

Duque likewise 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 following immunization.

The NTF earlier announced that the pilot implementation will be limited to children of healthcare workers, as well as those kids with comorbidities.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said that Metro Manila LGUs are all set to inoculate their younger population.

He said the pre-registration for the said 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.

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 that based on the initial tally, there are about 12.7 million Filipinos within the 12 to 17 years age group who are qualified to get the jab.

Vaccine deliveries to hit 100-M mark by month-end

Meanwhile, Galvez reported that the Philippines is on track in hitting the 100 million-mark in terms of vaccines received since February, as total arrivals have now reached 77.4 million doses.

“Nasa kalahati na ng volume ng ating kailangan ang ating natanggap. The 100 million target by the end of October is on track with the expected deliveries of more than 10 million doses procured Pfizer vaccines, five million doses of Moderna, 10 million doses of Sinovac, and the remaining 5.9 million doses of US-COVAX donation,” he said.

“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 shared that the government is due to sign a supply agreement with Johnson & Johnson for the procurement of around six million doses of the one-shot Janssen vaccines.

The doses, he said, will be part of the scheduled January 2022 vaccine deliveries.

Galvez said the NTF is currently negotiating with four manufacturers for the country’s vaccine allocation next year composed of 90 to 100 million doses.

NTF Deputy Chief Implementer and testing czar Secretary Vivencio Dizon expressed confidence in the country’s growing vaccine supply, as well as the continued expansion of its vaccination coverage.

“Supply is no longer a problem. Kaya inapprove ng Pangulo, open na tayo sa general population. Ang ibig sabihin noon, lahat ng gustong magpabakuna, mababakunahan na,” Dizon said.

Galvez said that the national government has a current stockpile of 31 million doses that will be sufficient to continue the vaccination program and cover new sectors.

The chief implementer said that the national government still aims to sustain a vaccination rate of 600,000 to 800,000 jabs daily by year-end. END