Gov't to allocate 60 M COVID-19 vaccines for pediatric inoculation — Galvez

Published October 3, 2021, 10:52 AM

by Martin Sadongdong

Around 60 million doses of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines will be allocated by the government for the inoculation of around 29 million adolescents and children in the country, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. has disclosed.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. (Photo: NTF Against COVID-19)

Galvez, also the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, said the allocated doses would cover the two-dose inoculation of the youngsters’ population.

However, for the pilot implementation on October 15 in Metro Manila, the vaccine czar said the government has prepared doses enough for 17.7 million individuals.

“We have [initially] allocated [doses] that are good for 17.7 milllion people. Our population for adolescents and children is more or less 29 million so we will be allocating more or less 60 million doses,” said Galvez during the arrival of 889,200 doses of Pfizer donations from the COVAX facility late Saturday afternoon, October 2.

For now, Galvez said the government has a “multitude of vaccines” that are coming in which would ensure that there are enough supply for the inclusion of aged 12 to 17 in the vaccination program. The pilot implementation of the pediatric inoculation will be on October 15.

He said 33 million doses more of Pfizer will be delivered to the country until the end of the year. Aside from that, 15 million doses of Moderna will also arrive this fourth and final quarter.

There are currently around 75 million doses that have arrived in the country since February, when the government first accepted the supplies of life-saving jabs.

Of this number, around 58 million doses were deployed nationwide while 45 million doses were injected to the first five priority sectors: healthcare workers, elderlies, persons with co-morbidities, economic frontliners, and indigent population.

The planned vaccination of children and adolescents would complement with the target of the national government to open face to face classes, according to Galvez.

The vaccine czar noted that with the continuous decline in the number of daily cases, local government units (LGUs) would be able to concentrate on their vaccination program now.

“In case the variant strikes, we are more prepared. Secondly, we want to open up our schools and by vaccinating our children we can sustain that,” Galvez said.

In the United States, the vaccination of individuals aged 12 to 18 have started as early as May, according to US Charge d’Affaires Heather Variava.

“We found out that the vaccine is very effective and safe for children so I was very happy to hear that this month, the Philippines will start to be able to vaccinate children. It’s a good prospect for the future,” Variava said.

The vaccine czar admitted that they want to imitate the strategy of the US government of vaccinating thier young population as this could lessen the impact of “generational impact” which, he noted, affects the mental health of children and adolescents if they are kept inside their homes and prevented from interacting with other people for a long period of time.

“The United States is also advising us that by vaccinating our children, we can prevent ‘generational mishap’ considering that there are also mental concerns of having our children in houses. We are trying to copy some of the strategies of the United States,” he said.