Briones on vaccination of younger children: ‘It’s not really anything new’

While the Department of Education (DepEd) will carefully monitor the vaccination of children aged five to 11, Education Secretary Leonor Briones expressed confidence that parents and learners will participate since the exercise is something that they are familiar with.


“Ang mga parents natin, sanay na sila na yung mga bata (The parents, they are already used to the children), babies, infant since birth, binabakunahan para sa ibat’ibang klaseng sakit (are being vaccinated against various diseases) which usually hit children,” Briones said during the “Laging Handa” public briefing on Friday, Jan. 28.

Briones said that younger children usually receive routine immunizations at such a young age.

“There is greater care which is exercised but it’s not really anything new because babies have always been vaccinated or injected and protected from the time that they are born, as much as possible, not only by public facilities but also by private practitioners themselves,” Briones said.

Given this, she believed that it will not be difficult to convince parents that the “vaccine will keep their children safe” --- especially those who go to health centers.

“What’s important to emphasize for the vaccination of children 5 to 11 is we require the presence of the parents themselves,” Briones added.

For the vaccination of children aged five to 11, DepEd Assistant Secretary Malcolm Garma said that the agency is waiting for any additional guidance from the Department of Health (DOH).

However, Garma said that the registration process for the younger age group would probably be similar to that of the 12 to 17 age group.

He reminded parents who wish to have their younger children vaccinated against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to secure the requirements such as medical clearance for those who have comorbidity and the “expression of approval” before the procedure.

Parents or guardians must also accompany the children on the vaccination day.

Garma said that currently, 841 schools have been used or are being used for the regular vaccination program of the government.

For the vaccination of children aged five to 11, Garma said that DeEd is once again willing to coordinate with local government units (LGUs) and DOH if more schools are needed to serve as vaccination sites.

Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said that there are around 14 million children aged 5 to 11 in basic education based on the data from DepEd’s Planning Service office.

The national government plans to roll out the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 in February which will be piloted in select vaccination sites in the National Capital Region (NCR).