San Juan boosts immunocompromised minors vs Covid-19

Published June 23, 2022, 12:03 PM

by Patrick Garcia

The San Juan City local government started on Thursday, June 23, the administration of Covid-19 booster shots to its immunocompromised minors aged 12-17 as the country rushes to further protect Filipinos from the dreaded virus and its more transmissible Omicron subvariants.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, together with other city government officials, led the booster launch held at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center where 12 immunocompromised children received the shot.

The Department of Health (DOH) has approved and released the guidelines for the roll out of booster shots for the said priority group.

Under the guidelines, immunocompromised children are those who have been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood; those who received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system, those who received a stem transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress immune systems and those with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency such as DiGeorge syndrome and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.

“This roll out is really necessary especially for the immunocompromised children who need the best possible protection against Covid-19 now that there is a threat of a new COVID-19 variant and the possibility of face-to face classes this upcoming school year”, Zamora said.

The mayor explained that despite the previous administration of booster shots to other priority groups, the whole procedure of the rollout for immunocompromised children is far stricter wherein the recipient should first secure a medical clearance from a physician which also states the medical condition of the child.

A signed consent from the parent or guardian and assent from the recipient and any document showing the affiliation of the child with the parent or guardian must also be presented upon registration for the booster shot.

“We must abide by these rules as we are dealing with the most vulnerable group to the disease. Their medical conditions also need a safer and comfortable vaccination site that is why we are thankful that the Cardinal Santos Medical Center has been very supportive of this program,” Zamora said.

Zamora expressed hope that the DOH will give the go signal for the administration of booster doses to non-immunocompromised minors aged 12-17 as well as the second booster administration for the general public.

“Umaasa din po ako na sa mga darating na araw ay payagan na din po kaming bakunahan ang edad 12-17 na hindi immunocompromised dahil syempre, sila’y nangangailangan din ng agarang pagbibigay ng first booster sa kanila lalo na at napapansin na natin na tumataas ang bilang ng mga kaso dito sa Metro Manila (I hope that in the coming days, the DOH will give us the permission to boost non-immunocompromised minors aged 12-17 because they also need to be boosted against the virus especially now that we are seeing an increase in cases in Metro Manila),” the mayor said.

“Ganun din ho ang aking panawagan na para naman po sa second booster, sana payagan na din po ng DOH yung ating pangkalahatang publiko, the general public, dahil halimbawa dito sa San Juan, madami ho kaming hawak na bakuna pero hindi naman namin mabigay ang second booster dahil hindi pa ho pinapayagan ito (This is also my request to the DOH to give the go signal to administer the second booster to the general public because for example, here in San Juan, we have a lot of vaccines but we are not able to administer the second booster because we are not allowed to do so),” he added.

On Wednesday, June 22, the country detected 32 additional cases of the more transmissible Omicron BA.5 subvariant.

According to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, of the total cases, 21 are from Western Visayas, four from Calabarzon, four from the National Capital Region (NCR), and three from Central Luzon.