April 17, 2024








Gov’t eyes opening COVID-19 vaccination for minors on Oct. 15: DOH

MANILA — The COVID-19 vaccination drive will open to 12- to 17-year-olds on Oct. 15, the Department of Health said on Wednesday, as authorities raced to protect more people against more infectious coronavirus variants.

The inoculation of minors will start in Metro Manila. Those with comorbidity like heart, kidney, and respiratory problems will be prioritized, said DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje.

“Ang target natin ay masimulan ito sa Oct. 15. Uumpisahan natin sa National Capital Region kasi maganda-ganda na ‘yong kanilang coverage ng kanilang vaccination, lalong-lalo na ‘yong kanilang A2 (senior citizens),” she said in a televised public briefing.

(Our target is to start this by Oct. 15. We will start in the National Capital Region because their vaccination coverage is quite good, especially for their A2.)

“Pagkatapos ng 2 linggo, ito ‘yong tinatawag na test run, ay dadalhin na natin sa iba’t ibang rehiyon. Uumpisahan ang pagbabakuna sa may comorbities,” added the official.

(After 2 weeks, this is the so-called test run, we will bring this to other regions. The vaccination will start among those with comorbities.)

Children and their parents or guardians should sign consent forms for the vaccination. The minors should also present medical certificates proving their health risks, Cabotaje said.

She noted only the COVID-19 vaccines of Moderna and Pfizer have secured EUAs for 12- to 17-year-olds in the Philippines, and will be the only jabs used for this age group.

Authorities eye releasing other guidelines by next week, she added.

The immunization program currently covers 5 priority groups, including health workers, the elderly, people with health risks, essential workers, and indigents.

Government this week also approved the COVID-19 vaccination of the general adult population by October.

The Philippines, which is fighting one of Asia’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, has confirmed some 2.5 million infections, including about 37,000 deaths overall. The recent jump in cases is linked to the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant.

At least 20.8 million of the country’s 109 million people have been fully vaccinated so far.