Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday called on local government units (LGUs) to prepare for the inoculation of children aged 5 to 11.
Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, made the call after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.
Last November, the Department of Health (DOH) said it is targeting to vaccinate 13.5 million within this age group. Prior to this, both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were used to inoculate minors in the 12 to 17 age group.
Gatchalian said vaccinating the age group of 5 to 11 would be crucial in boosting confidence in safely reopening schools amid the threat of the Omicron variant.
“Ngayong aprubado na ang pagbabakuna kontra COVID-19 para sa mga batang may edad na 5 hanggang 11, ang susunod na hakbang ay ang paghahanda ng ating mga lokal na pamahalaan para sa pagbabakuna (Now that the vaccine has been approved for those aged 5 to 11, the next step would be preparing local governments in the rollout of the vaccines),” said Gatchalian,
“Napapanahon ang pagbabakuna natin sa ating mga kabataan lalo na’t inaasahan ang muling pagbubukas ng mga paaralan para sa face-to-face classes (Vaccinating our children is very timely especially since we are expecting schools to resume their face-to-face classes),” he said.
“Kung marami sa mga kabataan ang mababakunahan, mas tataas ang kumpiyansa ng mga mag-aaral at kanilang mga magulang (If many of our children get vaccinated, the confidence of our students and their children would increase),” he added.
During a hearing last December 17, the DOH reported that 7.1 million minors aged 12 to 17 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the DOH, 2.7 million, out of 12.7 million minors in the 12 to 17 age group, are now fully vaccinated.]
Gatchalian also urged the National Task Force Against COVID-19 to help LGUs hit by Typhoon Odette in the rollout of the vaccines for 5 to 11 year-old children.
The lawmaker stressed the urgency of vaccinating children in Odette-hit areas pointing out tat they have to deal with the combined threats of both COVID-19 and the aftermath of the typhoon.