Nationwide COVID-19 vaccination of minors to begin on Oct. 29 — Galvez

Published October 23, 2021, 8:52 AM

by Martin Sadongdong

After its pilot implementation in the National Capital Region (NCR), the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination of children and adolescents aged 12 to 17 will officially be rolled out nationwide on Oct. 29.

Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr. faces the media during the arrival of 1,016,730 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at NAIA Terminal 3 on Oct. 22, 2021. (Photo: NTF Against COVID-19)

This was announced by Sec. Carlito Galvez Jr., vaccine czar and chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19, during the arrival of an additional 1,016,730 doses of government-procured Pfizer jab at NAIA Terminal 3 on Friday night, Oct. 22.

“We will be having a rollout of children’s vaccination to all LGUs [local government units] and we are very thankful that as of this moment, our vaccination for children has been rolled out in 17 different cities [and municipality] in NCR,” Galvez said.

“[On] October 29, we will open up the rollout to LGUs including provinces and cities,” he added.

A total of 1,016,730 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine arrive at NAIA Terminal 3 on Oct. 22, 2021. (Photo: NTF Against COVID-19)

The newly-delivered vaccines will be allocated to Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao equitably to support the planned vaccination of minors nationwide: 813,150 doses were brought to a storage facility in Manila while 101,790 doses each were transported to Cebu and Davao warehouses.

So far, only Pfizer and Moderna were authorized for emergency use by the Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the vaccination of minors as young as 12 years old.

The planned nationwide rollout of pediatric vaccination outside NCR will be implemented ahead of its original schedule since it is supposed to begin one month after the pilot in the capital region.

The pilot in NCR began on October 15 and more than 4,000 minors have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since then. Out of the number, only four cases have experienced an adverse reaction, Galvez said.

From eight hospitals, the vaccination of minors was expanded into 23 additional medical facilities in NCR this week to accommodate more children and adolescents who are willing to get the life-saving jab.

Galvez said that the schedule was sped up since “majority” of the LGUs outside NCR are already prepared for the pediatric inoculation.

He said the vaccination centers in provinces may be established in open fields near hospitals in preparation for adverse reactions on children.

“Ang ginawa natin noong una (What we did in the pilot implementation) to make sure that the children are safe, ginawa natin doon sa ospital (we did it in the hospitals). But most of LGUs have a field to use [as] their vaccination site considering they already know how to react on adverse effects,” he stated.

“Lahat ng regions bibigyan natin (All of the regions will be given an allocation) especially those [which] have already more than 50 percent of their [target population] vaccination,” he added.

(Figures: NTF Against COVID-19)

Meanwhile, the country has already received a total of 94,678,340 doses since the deliveries started in February of this year.

Of these, 54,444,161 doses have been administered nationwide — 25,101,222 million individuals have been fully vaccinated while 29,342,929 others received their first dose.

The 25 million fully vaccinated individuals represent 32.54 percent of the 77 million eligible population that the government intends to vaccinate before the end of 2021 to achieve herd immunity.