MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Monday said he supports proposals to vaccinate minors against COVID-19 as long as there is sufficient supply.
Duque, who also sits as chairman of the government's inter-agency task force against COVID-19, also said that there should be prioritization among the younger recipients.
"Supply permitting, I wouldn’t mind that we should already start vaccinating children, for as long as first, we prioritize which among the children. Those with comorbidities, of course let’s vaccinate them," he told ANC's Headstart.
"I would support it, supply permitting," Duque reiterated.
He cited a report by the University of the Philippines that it has 6 pediatric patients seen to have "very serious" infection, and 2 of these patients have comorbidities. UP administers and operates the Philippine General Hospital.
PGH Spokesperson Dr. Jonas del Rosario told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo last week that a newborn and 7 other children up to 15 years old are admitted at the hospital for COVID-19.
He said 6 of the 8 children are considered either severe or critical, with 3 of them intubated or on ventilator, while the others need some oxygen support.
The hospital was yet to receive the genome sequencing results of the children, which would identify if they had the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Minors are yet to be included in the government's priority recipients of COVID-19 vaccines, even as the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Pfizer's vaccine for those who are 12 to 17 years old.
The regulator is also reviewing the application of Sinovac to amend its emergency use authorization so that its COVID-19 vaccine can be used on children aged 3 to 17.