Philippines finalizing COVID-19 vaccine rules for 5 to 11-year-olds

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 20 2022 02:41 PM

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The Philippines is finalizing guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccination of children 5 to 11 years old, which is expected to start in early February, the Department of Health said on Thursday. 

The Health Technology Assessment Council is set to come up with recommendations, and authorities continue consulting experts, said DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje.

She noted the Philippine Pediatric Society and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines have endorsed the vaccination of 5 to 11-year-olds. 

“Titingnan lang natin iyong operational guidelines. Pina-finalize po natin. Baka ang gagawin natin, specific site lang for 5 to 11,” said Cabotaje, who chairs the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC). 

(We will just look at the operational guidelines. We are finalizing this. We might designate specific sites for the 5 to 11 age group.)

As well, the government is looking at the possibility of including children aged 4 and below in its inoculation program.

“Titingnan natin, baka by second quarter, mga April or May, kung meron nang bakuna na puwede sa 0 to 4 at may mga pag-aaral na at may recommendation na,” said Cabotaje. 

“Importante kasi iyong Health Technology Assessment Council, tapos iyong go signal ng ating mga policy [maker] at saka expert, para umpisahan na rin iyong 0 to 4 years old,” she said in a televised public briefing. 

(We will see, perhaps by the second quarter, around April or May, if there will be a vaccine for 0 to 4-year-olds, and if there are studies and recommendations already. The Health Technology Assessment Council is important, as well as the go signal from our policy makers and experts for us to start the 0 to 4 years old.)

About 56.4 million of the Philippines’ 109 million people have been fully vaccinated so far against COVID-19.

Minors aged 12 to 17 started getting COVID-19 jabs in October last year. 

The country rolled out its vaccination program on March 1 of last year.