MANILA—The Department of Health is aiming to inoculate an estimated 1.2 million children with underlying health conditions against COVID-19, a health official said Friday.
The pilot pediatric inoculation has begun in 8 select hospitals in Metro Manila as the country seeks to expand its vaccination program.
Citing data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the country had 12.7 million children aged 12 to 17.
"Base sa ating (on our) figures for adults with comorbidities, ang adults with comorbidities (is) almost mga 10 percent po 'yan ng populasyon (of the population)," she said in press briefing
"If we will apply and adapt that, 10 percent of 12.7 [million] is about 1.2 million. But again, this is very rough estimate," Vergeire said, adding the DOH does not have a registry of this particular group.
While the COVID-19 shots developed by US drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna were proven to be safe, she said the Philippine government and experts wanted to ensure the safety of children that's why the program is being piloted in hospitals where doctors could monitor the vaccinees.
These hospitals are PGH, Philippine Children's Medical Center, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, National Children's Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children's Hospital, St. Luke's Medical Center and Makati Medical Center.
In the press briefing, Vergeire reminded the public that pediatric vaccination would require informed consent from parents or legal guardians and assent from children.
Screening and orientation on the benefits and risk of the anti-virus jab will also be conducted before COVID-19 shots are administered.
Vaccinated minors will then undergo a 15-minute monitoring while a longer 30-minute monitoring will be applied for those with history of asthma, allergies and anaphylaxis, she said.
In the pilot run of the vaccination among minors, Vergeire stressed that children must be master listed or registered in the hospital. Walk-ins are currently prohibited.
Courtesy of the Department of Health