By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is asking the national government to allocate or procure additional vaccines to include children 17 and below amid the increased cases of CoViD-19 involving minors.
Belmonte made the call after Philippine vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., told the House of Representatives that the Philippines is raising its inoculation target to 90% of the population.
It was to reach herd immunity as advocated by health experts because of the Delta variant.
With this development, the Quezon City government wants to expand COVID inoculation to 17 years old and below.
She said a report from the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) that more than 12,000 minors in the city had COVID-19.
The mayor said that including children in the inoculation program is crucial since minors take 30% of the population.
“What health experts are now pushing for can not be achieved in our city if we will not allow children or those below 18 years old to get COVID-19 vaccines, and help them as well from getting seriously sick from the virus,” Belmonte said.
Recent data from CESU showed that as of September 8, the city got a total of 12,608 cases of COVID-19 in children aged 0 to 17.
Currently, 1,327 are active cases between August 26 and September 8. Of which, 48 cases are aged less than a year old; 597 are one (1) to 10 years old, and 682 are 11 to 17 years old.
The other day, CESU said that 122 residents at the Gentle Hands Orphanage tested positive, along with 23 staff members and 99 youths age 18 and below.
The orphanage has a number of 163 residents including both children and personnel, in which 143 of them were tested by CESU for COVID-19.
One hundred eighteen (118) of those who are tested plus the four index cases bring the total positive cases to 122, three male staff allegedly went out of the orphanage to get their first dose last August 13.
Six days later, one of the children showed symptoms, Belmonte said the local government is ready to begin the jabs on children once it receives a ‘go signal’ from the national gov’t.
“We understand that there is a vaccine shortage at the moment but once our country gets a regular supply of vaccines with FDA approval for vaccinating 17 and below we should consider this right away. We need to protect our children given that they are directly or indirectly exposed,” Belmonte said.
“Sa ngayon, habang naghihintay tayo ng rekomendasyon mula sa national government, patuloy nating pinapalawak ang COVID response ng lungsod (For now, while we are waiting for a recommendation from the national government, we continuously expand the COVID response of the city),” she added, noting efforts such as expanded isolation facilities for children and families and expanded swab testing.
Further, Belmonte asked the public to report right away to CESU if they know of anyone who is manifesting symptoms.
CESU can be reached via their official Facebook page and QC Contact Tracing HOTLINES 8703-2759, 8703-4398, 0916-122-8628, 0908-639-8086, and 0931-095-7737. (ai/mtvn)