Children’s vaccination begins; regional rollout eyed within Oct.

Children’s vaccination begins; regional rollout eyed within Oct.

MANILA – Vaccination of minors age 15 to 17 begins Friday, with the initial rollout for provinces targeted before the month ends.

National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Thursday night said the Department of Health has conducted a simulation after inspecting the eight initial Metro Manila hospitals selected for the pilot.

“We are ready. We’ve given 1,700 Pfizer (doses) to each vaccination site and in fact, there are many hospitals and local government units who are asking also for the pilot,” he told reporters upon the arrival of some 862,290 doses of government-procured Pfizer-BioNTech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The select hospitals for the pilot pediatric inoculation are the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children’s Hospital, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center (Bonifacio Global City), and Makati Medical Center.

Iloilo, Cebu and some areas in Calabarzon and Central Luzon have asked the task force to be included in the program, Galvez said.

The national government would like to assess and complete first the vaccination on the eight sites but Galvez noted that the rollout in the provinces would begin as early as this month.

“[On] October 22, we will have a run down to the different regions also and more or less November 5, we will have the full vaccination of children ranging from 15 to 17, basically those people who have comorbidities,” he said.

After the first phase for age 15 to 17, the vaccination will expand to minors age 12 to 14.

Galvez assured that there would be adequate supply as the majority of the fresh Pfizer delivery would be allocated to Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and the pediatric vaccination in the National Capital Region.

He added that Manila has ordered more than 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that would be shipped in tranches or about 11 million every month.

“So starting October, ang procured natin (we’ve already procured) 11 million and we are very thankful to the US government and COVAX Facility and the World Health Organization for giving another 10 million for the Philippines,” he said.

Joining him in welcoming the more than 800,000 Pfizer doses at the NAIA Terminal 3 was United States Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava, who shared the US’ success in its teenage Covid-19 vaccination.

“Pfizer vaccine is one of the safest and most effective of the Covid vaccines and so we’re delighted to see more coming to the Philippines,” she said.

“We have more than 10 million teenagers in the US who have been vaccinated and you know, the results are very good. I think vaccinating our children is a wonderful way for them to be able to resume some in-person schooling which is very important for their future and the future of our country. We’re so proud to partner with the Philippines on our Covid relief efforts,” she added. (PNA)

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