Covid-19 booster rollout for non-immunocompromised kids aged 12-17 yet to be implemented—DOH

Published June 26, 2022, 2:37 PM

by Analou de Vera

Coronavirus vaccines have been prepared for distribution at a vaccination site in Manila on May 18, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

The administration of the first Covid-19 vaccine booster shot to non-immunocompromised children aged 12 to 17 is not yet for implementation, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“Hindi pa (Not yet). We are negotiating a condition set forth by HTAC [Health Technology Assessment Council],” said DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje in a text message.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Cabotaje said the HTAC has a condition that an area should first have 40 percent booster coverage for their senior citizens before giving booster shots to non-immunocompromised adolescents.

“Alam naman natin na mababa ang first booster. Scientifically, may basis sila, pero operationally, nahihirapan kami (We know that the first booster coverage is still low. Scientifically, the HTAC has a basis. But operationally, we are having difficulties),” she said.

“We had some discussions and hopefully, they can decide today kung i-go na kahit wala yung condition na iyon (whether we can implement this even without that condition),” she added.

The government started the booster shot program for this age bracket last Wednesday, June 22, but it only covers those who are immunocompromised. DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said more than 100 immunocompromised adolescents were already boosted.

Meanwhile, if the program covers all children under that age bracket, the DOH assured that the country has enough supply of Pfizer vaccines.

“We have enough supply para po dito sa booster doses. Kasi ito pong booster ng 12 to 17 is just the same with the adult dose (We have enough supply for booster doses. Because the booster for those aged 12 to 17 is just the same with the adult dose),” said Vergeire.