(File photo)

MANILA – Immunocompromised minors aged 12 to 17 years old in San Juan City have started to receive Thursday their Covid-19 booster shots.

Mayor Francis Zamora, in an interview, said Cardinal Santos Medical Center would accommodate the first booster vaccination for the immunocompromised pediatric category, as defined by the Department of Health (DOH).

“This is a very stringent criterion because they have to be a cancer patient, HIV patient, transplant patient, or with other immunodeficiency ailments so we understand because this is a very, very small group of children but we are preparing for the expansion of this age group for those who are healthy,” Zamora said.

Zamora also reported that around 5,000 minors under the age bracket have received the full Covid-19 primary series.

“We are expecting the same number for the first booster,” he added.

Zamora said the city’s booster vaccination rollout would be stricter as the parents of vaccinees must have secured a medical clearance form issued by a physician stating the kids’ current medical conditions.

Parents or guardians must sign a consent form as agreed by the vaccine recipients. Registration prior to the vaccination is also needed.

“We must abide by these rules as we are dealing with the most vulnerable group to the disease. Their medical conditions also need a safer and more comfortable vaccination site that is why we are thankful that the Cardinal Santos Medical Center has been very supportive of this program,” Zamora said.

Pfizer BioNTech vaccine will be used for the administration of Covid-19 booster shots to immunocompromised adolescents, at least 28 days after they received the second dose of the primary series.

"This rollout is really necessary, especially for the immunocompromised children who need the best possible protection against Covid-19 now that there is a threat of a new Covid-19 variant and the possibility of face-to-face classes this upcoming school year," Zamora said.

Meanwhile, Zamora appealed to the DOH to allow the expansion of the second booster shots administration to the general public “considering that San Juan has enough jab supply and manpower to administer it on a wide scale.”

“We still have a supply of all types of vaccines,” he added.

The city has 31 active Covid-19 cases but remains in a low-risk category.

Zamora reminded residents to continue observing minimum public health protocols at all times and get vaccinated. (PNA)