NTF targets to vaccinate 20 M children vs COVID-19

Published September 13, 2021, 11:01 AM

by Martin Sadongdong

Around 20 million children are targeted to be inoculated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the government plans to include them in the national vaccination program to increase the scale in achieving herd immunity.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. addresses questions from the media during the arrival of two million doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac vaccines at NAIA Terminal 2 in Pasay City on Sept. 13, 2021. (Photo courtesy of NTF Against COVID-19)

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said Monday, September 13, that the government will prioritize the vaccination of individuals aged 12 to 17 years old once pediatric inoculation starts.

“We talked to the Philippine Medical Association including the head of the Pediatric Society and they recommended to finish all the 18 and above (adults) first, then we can proceed with 17 and below. We will begin with adolescents aged 12 to 17,” Galvez said in an interview during the arrival of two million doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac vaccines at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City.

This could be crucial to the planned pilot testing of face to face classes in areas with low-risk of COVID-19 transmission as school year 2021-’22 officially began Monday.

Galvez said that raising the coverage of vaccination will help the government counter the effects of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The government origianlly plans to vaccinate 70 percent of the eligible (adult) population which accounts for around 77 million out of 110 million Filipinos.

However, he noted that the coverage should be expanded to around 80 or 90 percent in order to protect a bigger part of the population amid the threat of Delta.

“We only have 70 million population for 18 and above and if we want to upgrade the scale of the herd immunity, we need to vaccinate more or less 20 million from the adolescents and pediatrics,” Galvez said.

No date yet has been finalized for the planned pediatric inoculation but Galvez bared that once it starts, the priority will be the dependents of healthcare workers (A1) and those with co-morbidities (A2).

Two million doses of Sinovac Biotech’s CoronaVac vaccines arrive at NAIA Terminal 2 in Pasay City on Sept. 13, 2021. (Photo courtesy of NTF Against COVID-19)

Meanwhile, the newly delivered Sinovac vaccines were procured by the government from China.

The jabs will be allocated to Central Luzon (Region 3), Calabarzon (Region 4A), Western Visayas (Region 6), Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9), Davao Region (Region 11) and other areas with surge of cases.

The country now has received a total of 56,794,130 doses including 33 million from Sinovac Biotech.

 
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