Garin: Vaccination in hospitals not safe for teenagers

Published October 19, 2021, 7:43 PM

by Manila Bulletin

Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin has questioned the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to hold the vaccination of adolescents against COVID-19 in selected hospitals in the National Capital Region.


For the pilot vaccination of minors, the IATF selected the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children’s Hospital, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center (Bonifacio Global City), and Makati Medical Center.

Garin, however, said the decision was made without regard to science, but as a product of fake news and misinformation being circulated.

“While I understand the need for precautions, common sense would dictate that the hospital setting is not the safest place to be during a pandemic. Doing vaccination in hospitals will expose our teenage children to more viruses and possibly to COVID-19,” said Garin, a former Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH).

Garin also said that the decision to hold vaccination of minors in hospitals will add more burden to the “already exhausted, overworked, and underpaid frontline health workers.” Furthermore, the lawmaker-doctor said vaccinations of people who are high-risk of acquiring COVID-19 such as senior citizens and people with comorbidities were held in schools, covered courts and open areas.

“If the more fragile population was vaccinated outside hospitals, then why are we risking our teens to go to hospitals?” Garin added.

Garin is also wondering whether the IATF decision was guided by science and if it got the advice of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG) and other experts before pushing with its vaccination of adolescents in hospitals.

“Were hospitals, who are already overloaded, consulted if they have the capacity and the manpower to do the added work? Were parents given a choice if they want their teenagers to go to hospitals or to community vaccination sites?” Garin asked.

“Why are we not using science to make policy decisions in our COVID response? The science is there. The facts are there. The good medical and economic suggestions are there.” More than a year into the pandemic, Garin also decried the fact that some leaders are still clueless on how to effectively curb the effects of the pandemic in the lives of Filipinos.

“It’s a shame that facts and science fall into deaf ears. Nananatili silang bulag sa katotohanan at bingi sa siyensya at medisina. Kawawa ang taumbayan. Talo ang Pilipino (They remain blind to the truth and deaf to science and medicine. Pity our people. Filipinos are losers here), ” Garin said. (Melvin Sarangay)