Pilot Covid-19 vaccination of minors on Oct. 15

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

September 30, 2021, 10:53 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippines will kick off the pilot rollout of the inoculation of minors against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on Oct. 15, Malacañang announced on Thursday.

This, after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the proposal to vaccinate children aged 12 to 17 under a “phased approach”, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

“The pilot will begin on October 15, 2021 under a phased approach as may be determined by the National Vaccination Operations Center,” said Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson.

Roque said minors will be inoculated with Covid-19 vaccines that are available for emergency use.

“Approved by the IATF is the pilot rollout of the vaccination of children ages 12 to 17 years old with vaccines granted Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the Covid-19 vaccination of the general population, including minors, in October.

To date, healthcare workers, senior citizens, persons with comorbidities, and indigents are being prioritized in the government’s immunization drive against Covid-19.

Most local government units (LGUs) are ready to start the vaccination program for minors and the general public, National Task Force Against Covid-19 and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said earlier Thursday.

The Philippines has so far received over 71.324 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, as of Thursday.

Around 45,147,477 Covid-19 vaccine vials have already been administered nationwide since the vaccination program was launched in March this year.

Vaccination vs. MR-Td

Meantime, the IATF-EID also endorsed to LGUs the conduct of routine and catch-up immunization and the community-based Measles-Rubella and Tetanus-Diphtheria (MR-Td) immunization activities of the Department of Health, Roque said.

LGUs, Roque said, are enjoined to fast-track the MR-Td vaccination “by dedicating Wednesdays for child vaccination by shifting healthcare workers from Covid-19 vaccination targets on said day for the mentioned purpose.”

He said those who will be vaccinated against MR-Td will be allowed to go out.

“Because of this, children less than 2 years old, 6-7 years old, and 12-13 years old shall be exempt from community quarantine restrictions for this purpose,” Roque said. (PNA)