COVID-19 vaccination of kids below 12 eyed next year: DOH

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 03 2021 12:11 PM

Young people, aged 12-17, receive their Pfizer COVID-19 (Pfizer) vaccine at the Navotas City Hospital on November 02, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Young people, aged 12-17, receive their Pfizer COVID-19 (Pfizer) vaccine at the Navotas City Hospital on November 02, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines is considering to expand next year its pediatric COVID-19 vaccination to include children below 12 years old, an official said Wednesday.

Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje made the remark after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11.

"We have considered that for our plans of next year's vaccination of below 12 years old. Kailangan may Health Technology Assessment Council recommendation tapos ano yung bakuna na bibilhin na pwede sa below 11 years old," she told reporters.

(A recommendation from the Health Technology Assessment Council is needed and the vaccine should be approved for thsoe below 11 years old.)

"Napag-uusapan na 'yan at nilagay na ng ating planners ng programa for next year."

(It is being discussed and our vaccination program planners have scheduled it for next year.)

Government on Wednesday began the vaccination of all children aged 12 to 17, after initially rolling out the program to kids of the same age with comorbidities.

It aims to vaccinate 80 percent or nearly 10 million out of 12 million children before yearend, Cabotaje said.

Some 40,419 or 3.18 percent of children with health risks have received an initial dose as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, she added.

Government also supports the proposal for "family vaccination," but reiterated that priority lanes should be set aside for priority sectors such as the elderly and immunocompromised, Cabotaje said.

"We are hoping with the opening up of our pediatric age group maengganyo na rin ang ating mga lolo, mga lola (our grandparents will also be encouraged)," she said.

"If the whole family is vaccinated, they are protected. We agree with that proposal. It is already being done in many areas, spaces."

The country aims to vaccinate at least 77 million or 70 percent, of which 64 percent are adults and 6 percent are children, to achieve herd immunity by yearend, according to Cabotaje.

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