The vaccination of children ages 12-17 years old will be pilot tested in selected hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR) starting on October 15, 2021, said Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr.
“Habang dumarami po ang supplies, uumpisahan na rin natin ang pediatric vaccination,” said Secretary Roque in a press briefing on October 7, 2021. Sec Roque added that the rollout in hospitals will be done by age group, which is 15 to 17 years old and 12 to 14 years old.
The eight hospitals where the pediatric vaccination pilot will be done are the following: National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, and Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City; Pasig City Children’s Hospital in Pasig; Philippine General Hospital in Manila, Makati Medical Center in Makati; and Saint Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig.
Chair of the National Adverse Effects Following Immunization Committee Dr. Lulu Bravo affirmed in the same press briefing that children, ages 15 to 17 years old, with comorbidities will be the first ones to be given vaccines against COVID-19.
This decision to have the adolescent group with comorbidities as first recipients of COVID-19 vaccines among the pediatric population is based on research and studies by experts, said Dr Bravo. She assured that there will be experts who will look into the possible effects of vaccines among children, and if the pilot becomes successful, she said that pediatric vaccination will continue to make face-to-face classes and reopening of schools safe.
Dr. Bravo added that for face-to-face classes, vaccinated children should still adhere to the minimum public health standards. She stressed also that it would be good for children who will participate in face-to-face classes to have all adult members of the household to be also vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones announced in the same press briefing that the reopening of face-to-face classes will be done in three phases, with the pilot face-to-face classes as the first phase. Secretary Briones said that pilot will be done for two months, which will be gradually expanded until the country moves to the new normal.
Secretary Briones emphasized that the pilot face-to-face classes implementation will be a shared responsibility among the DepEd, the Department of Health (DOH), the local government units and the community, and the parents of the learners.
For the pilot face-to-face classes, Briones said that it will start with key stage 1 learners because of lesser risk of transmission, lesser burden of disease, higher need for face-to-face learning, and higher chance of success in pilot implementation. There are 59 schools nationwide that have been initially endorsed by the DOH for the pilot implementation, said Briones. The DepEd will assess weekly if there is risk reduction in other areas to be able to increase the number of schools to complete the 120 schools for the pilot.
On the Philippines’ ranking in the Nikkei Asia’s latest COVID-19 Recovery Index, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the survey used snapshots or a period of time in basing their comparison of countries.
Usec. Vergeire said that in interpreting such data, it should be considered that the rise in cases due to the Delta variant did not happen in one specific time period, and the survey use the time period when the Philippines is in the peak of cases due to Delta, while the other countries in the survey were already past their peak in cases.
Usec. Vergeire emphasized that vaccination has been intensified, case numbers have been declining, and that the country has been managing deaths due to COVID-19 well, which she said is still below the global average.
On another matter, Sec. Roque was in Valenzuela earlier in the day together with Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, National Task Force (NTF) Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, and other officials to witness the opening of the Wellness Entertainment Sports Arena Mega Vaccination Hub in Valenzuela City. ### OPS