PASAY CITY (27 January 2022) — The Philippine government is eyeing to conduct a ‘vaccination days’ rollout specifically for children aged five to 11 from February 4 to 5 in Metro Manila.
In an online interview on Thursday, National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. said the designated vaccination sites will include 24 hospital and non-hospital based facilities.
According to Galvez, the official announcement and draft policy for the vaccination of the said age group will be released within the week.
“Tuloy na tuloy na po ang ating pagbabakuna ng 5 to 11 dahil parating na ang ating mga vaccine na may special formulation sa February 2. Ang gagawin po natin, magde-designate tayo ng hospital at non-hospital based sa each city sa Metro Manila kaya magkakaroon tayo ng more or less 24 vaccination sites,” he said.
“Gusto nga po ng PMA (Philippine Medical Association) na mailagay itong parang vaccination days during weekend kasi nakikita nilang ‘yung mga nanay at tatay ay nagta-trabaho [tuwing weekdays]. More or less February 4 or 5 ang ating vaccination [days] para sa 5-11 years old,” Galvez added.
The vaccine czar said the initial rollout for the children’s vaccination will be conducted in the National Capital Region.
He, however, noted that the NTF is open to accepting requests from other regions to simultaneously conduct their own pilot implementation of the vaccine rollout.
“Ang gusto natin talaga ay magkaroon ito ng phasing at sequence dahil alam natin na ang sektor na ito ay napaka-importante at very sensitive talaga. At considering na first time nating makatanggap ng children formulation, ay talagang titingnan nating safe at effective talaga ‘yung pagbabakuna,” Galvez said.
“‘Yung Region 3 and 4, umaapela na gusto nang sumabay [sa NCR] dahil malaki na ang experience natin sa children vaccination, sa 12-17,” he added.
Galvez explained the Pfizer vaccines to be used for children aged five to 11 are reformulated, which means that they have a lower dosage compared to the vaccines used for the 12 and above age groups.
He said such precautionary measures will ensure that the vaccines to be used for children are all safe and effective.
“Nananawagan po kami sa ating mga magulang, na siguradong sigurado po kami na talagang maganda po ang formulation na ito dahil mas mababa at 91% ang efficacy,” Galvez said.
“At the same time, maraming reports ang US na talagang very minimal ang mga side effects,” he added.
Aside from the primary series, Galvez said the government has also programmed the administration of booster shots to children, pending the release of the amended emergency use authorizations for the vaccines and the greenlight coming from the vaccine expert panel for their administration.
“Nakaprograma po tayo na ‘yung 12 to 17 at 5 to 11 ay may booster po ito. Bumibili po tayo ng dagdag na 15 million doses, para matugunan ‘yung pag-booster sa 15.56 million na batang [5-11],” Galvez said.
The vaccine czar also emphasized the urgent need to vaccinate the children to protect them from COVID-19 and to prevent further mutations of the virus.
“Sa US, 400% na tumaas ang admission ng mga children. Ganoon din ang nakita natin sa PGH, na talagang ang mga tinatamaan ng variants ay ‘yung mga unvaccinated,” Galvez said.
“Hangga’t hindi po tayo natatapos [magbakuna] at mayroon pang mga unvaccinated, mayroon pong tutuluyan ‘yung mutations ng variants dito sa mga unvaccinated,” he added.
As of January 26, the Philippines has already administered a total of 125,089,118 COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Of this number, 58,149,158 are already fully vaccinated, including 7,391,735 individuals from the pediatric population. ###