VACCINATION OF MINORS. National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-2019 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. updates President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members in Davao City on Sept. 22, 2021. Galvez said the NTF is proposing to open the vaccination for minors aged 12 to 17 years old by mid of October. (Presidential photo by Roemari Lismonero)

MANILA – The National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 is proposing to open the vaccination campaign for minors aged 12 to 17 years old by mid-October.

In his report during President Rodrigo Duterte's Talk to the People on Wednesday night, NTF chief and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government can vaccinate about 12 million minors with the arrival of additional 20 million doses in the first week next month.

This is on top of over 23 million shots in the stockpile, he added, which will be enough to vaccinate 12 million minors aged 12 to 17.

Galvez, however, said minors with comorbidities and children of healthcare workers will be prioritized in the program.

“So we are proposing, Mr. President, to open up the vaccination for children by mid of October,” Galvez said.

The NTF and the government's vaccine cluster are also readying the vaccination expansion to the general public.

"We are also recommending na considering na malapit na po matapos ang ating vaccination target by December, by November po or even earlier, puwede na po nating i-open ang general public (We are also recommending that considering that we are nearly hitting our vaccination target by December, maybe we can open the vaccination for the general public by November or earlier than that)," Galvez said.

Apart from the pediatric vaccination, he said, the government has also prepared for the opening of the limited face-to-face classes.

"We will concentrate in fully vaccinating our teachers and school personnel," he added.

Galvez, meanwhile, cited the need to address vaccine hesitancy by using strategies on the "family approach."

"If we will secure our family and secure our place of work, malaki po ang chances na bababa po 'yung kaso natin (there's a big chance to reduce our cases)," he said.

Galvez also noted that vaccine hesitancy is seen in the far-flung areas among social classes D and E.

As of Sept. 22, a total of 42,659,375 doses have already been administered nationwide, with 23,282,543 Filipinos received their first shots and 19,376,832 are fully vaccinated against the Covid-19. (PNA)