MANILA — Children and the general adult population will start getting COVID-19 vaccines in October, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved the inoculation of the general population after a recommendation from vaccine "czar" Carlito Galvez Jr, said Roque.
"Magsisimula na po ang pagbabakuna sa general population itong buwan ng Oktubre," he said in a press briefing.
(We will start vaccinating the general population this month of October.)
The immunization program currently covers 5 priority groups, including health workers, the elderly, people with health risks, essential workers, and indigents.
They will not lose their prioritization and will have express lanes at inoculation hubs, said Roque.
"Hintayin natin ang detalye," he said.
(Let us wait for details.)
Meanwhile, parents are urged to have their children listed for COVID-19 vaccination, the spokesman said.
"Magsisimula na rin po ang ating pagbabakuna ng ating mga kabataan... Inaasahan rin po nating magsisimula rin tayo sa buwan ng Oktubre. Aprubado na rin po 'yan ng ating Presidente," Roque said.
(We will also start vaccinating our youth. We expect to start also in the month of October. That has been approved by the President.)
"Meron po tayong sapat na supply. Ang pinaghahandaan natin ‘yong master listing pa lang naman. ‘Pag meron na po tayong masterlist, hintayin po natin ang anunsyo kung sinong mauuna," he added.
(We have enough supply. We are just preparing for the master listing. Once we have a masterlist, let us wait for the announcement on who will be first.)
While Roque did not specify an age group, Galvez earlier recommended the coronavirus inoculation of 12 to 17-year-olds by the middle of October, as coronavirus infections hit more children.
"I’d like the people to know we are studying the possibility of vaccinating the general adult population as early as October if there is a stable vaccine supply," Duterte said earlier this September.
But authorities "have to keep equity in mind," he said.
"Dapat unahin na natin ang walang-wala at mga mahirap," said the President.
(We should prioritize the poor.)
The Philippines, which is fighting one of Asia's worst coronavirus outbreaks, has confirmed some 2.4 million coronavirus infections, including about 37,000 deaths overall.
Authorities expect to take delivery of some 100 million COVID-19 jabs next month, Galvez told Duterte on Monday.
At least 20.5 million people are now fully vaccinated. The national target is 77.1 million to achieve herd immunity and safely reopen the economy before the year ends.