MANILA – Barely two weeks since the pilot rollout of pediatric vaccination, a total of 9,928 children aged 12 to 17 with comorbidities have received their shots against the coronavirus, a health official said Monday.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the second phase of the pediatric vaccination in the National Capital Region (NCR) on Friday last week was "successful", with adverse events following immunization recorded were mostly minor.
“Meron po kaming naitalang sampu na nagkaroon ng reactions. Tatlong mga bata ay nagkaroon ng allergic reactions that were all managed. Tatlo po nagkaroon ng anxiety-related reactions at ‘yung mga apat po, minor lang po, masakit ‘yung mga (We have recorded 10 children with reactions. Three children had allergic reactions that were all managed. Three had anxiety-related reactions, and the other four, just minor [reactions like] painful) vaccination site and other minor reactions,” Vergeire said.
The children would be monitored for one month to check for other reactions from the vaccination.
The pilot rollout began last October 15 in eight select hospitals in the NCR.
This was expanded to the second phase last October 22 that included hospitals in different Metro Manila local government units.
Vergeire said the vaccine clusters would evaluate the initial two phases of pediatric vaccination and once done, the third phase would be rolled out nationwide.
"Tinataya nila kung talagang naging successful na itong pilot natin (Our vaccine clusters have a milestone or timeline on October 29, they’re evaluating if it was successful – the pilot) for these two phases we did, we will expand to the other regions already,” Vergeire said.
Children with any of these comorbidities are eligible for vaccination -- medical complexity or those with long-term dependence on technical support; genetic conditions; neurologic conditions; metabolic or endocrine diseases; cardiovascular diseases; obesity; HIV infection; tuberculosis; chronic respiratory diseases; renal disorders; hepatobiliary diseases; and those who are immunocompromised due to disease or treatment.
National Task Force against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said preparations are in place for the inclusion of other areas in the pediatric vaccination drive.
"In the next few days, we are expecting to have an increase in our vaccination considering that we will be having a rollout of the children's vaccination in all LGUs (local government units)," Galvez said on the sidelines of the arrival of three million Sinovac doses at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 on Sunday night.
LGU vaccination sites, including hospitals, have been inspected in preparation for the inoculation of minors.
Some LGUs appealed that instead of hospitals, they will use their existing vaccination sites as their healthcare staff are trained on how to respond to adverse effects following immunization.
"We made some adjustments that some of these vaccination sites will be set up near hospitals," Galvez said.
The vaccines will be initially deployed to LGUs that have vaccinated at least 50 percent of their target population.
Only Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been approved for pediatric inoculation.
Meanwhile, Galvez said the additional Sinovac jabs would add to the stockpile for the third dose vaccination of healthcare workers, senior citizens and adults with comorbidities.
While the exact date of the administration of the booster shot is yet to be confirmed, Galvez assured that it will not hamper the vaccination of other priority groups such as minors aged 12 to 17.
“The vaccine expert [panel] will be meeting on Tuesday and we are appealing that we need to expedite the vaccination of the children considering that we need them to open the different schools and classes. Also, the different private groups and companies [are] asking for the immediate vaccination of their children,” Galvez said. (PNA)