PH eyes to start vaccinating kids 5 to 11 early next month: official

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 07 2022 12:01 PM | Updated as of Jan 07 2022 02:51 PM

Video courtesy of PTV

MANILA (UPDATE)— The Philippines is eyeing to start administering Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shots to children 5 to 11 years old by early next month, an official said Friday.

Government is awaiting the delivery of Pfizer jabs for children aged 5 to 11 as this is not the same formulation for individuals aged 12 and above, said Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, head of the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC).

"Ang tinitingnan nating date, earliest first week of February maumpisahan natin ‘yung pagbabakuna ng ating 5 to 11. Hindi pa po tayo nagbabakuna ng 5 to 11, parating pa lang po 'yung bakuna," she said during a virtual public briefing.

(At the earliest, we're looking at the first week of February to begin the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11. We have not yet started, we are expecting the arrival of vaccines.)

The vaccine has an efficacy rate of 90 percent among children aged 5 and above, with "very mild" adverse events, according to recently resigned Food and Drug Administration chief Eric Domingo. 

There are some 13.5 million children aged 5 to 11 in the Philippines, the DOH earlier said. 

The Philippines has fully vaccinated some 51.7 million individuals, while 57.4 million have received an initial dose and 2.8 million have received booster shots, according to the NVOC.

Government, meantime, will look into the report that a 6 month-old received a COVID-19 vaccine shot instead of a pneumonia jab, Cabotaje said.

Authorities will continue to monitor the child, who has yet to show any adverse reaction, she added.

"In terms of the sanctions kailangan nating imbestigahang mabuti kung gross negligence 'yan o may ibang factors," she said.

(In terms of the sanctions, we need to investigate if it's gross negligence or there are other factors.)

"Kailangan pag-ibayuhin natin ang ating practices, iba dapat ang (refrigerator) ng COVID-19 vaccines sa regular vaccines. We remind our implementers na hiwalay dapat ang paglalagayan at malaki ang label para 'di sila malito."

(We need to intensify our practices, COVID-19 vaccines must be stored separately from regular vaccines. We remind our implementers that their storage should be separate and these should have big labels to avoid confusion.)