Good gift this Xmas

Good gift this Xmas

Connecticut’s Chidren photo courtesy

Good news and good gift, as the country gets upbeat in the few hours to celebrating Christmas, highlighted by the ninth Midnight Mass which began on the 16th.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old. The EUA allows legal administration of the drug in the country but does not allow for commercial selling.

“This can only be given to adults aged 18 and above, who tested positive for COVID-19 and are at risk of developing severe illness,” FDA director-general Dr. Eric Domingo said during the Laging Handa briefing.

Domingo made the announcement Thursday during the Laging Handa briefing, a confirmation of his earlier statement that the COVID-19 vaccine for the 5 to 11 age group would be available before yearend.

We are persuaded to believe that the vaccine may be effective to prevent COVID-19 and the benefits outweigh the known and potential risks.

Domingo also noted that Pfizer’s vaccine has an above 90 percent efficacy rate for children aged 5 to 11 years.

Yet another good news is this: a leader of the House of Representatives has urged the inter-agency task force on the COVID-19 pandemic to allow private subdivisions or villages to do their own booster vaccination for their residents.

We are referring to Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo who made the appeal after several of her constituents in the city’s second district, which she represents, inquired if they could receive their booster shots in the same areas in their villages where the IATF earlier permitted them to get their first and second doses.

With the government’s decision to shorten the time for giving the booster dose from six months to three months, Castelo said the authorities should expect crowding in many vaccination facilities.

“We should welcome the desire of many people to receive additional protection from Covid-19 and its new variant Omicron. Allowing homeowners’ associations that administered the basic shots to give the booster dose will ease crowding in inoculation centers,” she said.

A good point. She said many village residents were afraid to go to crowded centers to get vaccinated for fear of catching the virus.

We believe other village associations are willing to do booster vaccination for their constituents, and, as Castelo said, “They will not lack volunteer medical doctors, nurses and other health professionals from their residents.”

Indeed, expanding the rollout of boosters would speed up the attainment of herd immunity against the virus, which has infected 2.8 million and killed 50,981 two days going into the weekend,

Castelo has also raised a timely call in urging health, tourism, and airport officials to fix what she described as the “mess” in the reception and quarantining of Filipinos returning from abroad.

She said two residents of her district who arrived from the United States last Monday were made to wait overnight at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to be transported to their quarantine hotel in Quezon City.

“They were given the runaround for several hours shortly after their arrival at 5 in the afternoon. They were made to go from one government desk to another until midnight when they were told that offices were already closed and they had to wait till the next morning to be brought to their hotel,” she said, recounting her constituents’ gripes.

She said the returning residents, instead of sleeping at NAIA, pleaded to be allowed to go home and do self-isolation but were barred from going out of the airport.

Castelo then asked: “Is this the way we treat our returning kababayans? Nearly two years into the pandemic, are agencies still groping in the dark on pandemic-related procedures?”

Something urgent must be done.

(ai/mtvn)

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