The National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer said Sunday they are now studying the inclusion of children in the government’s vaccination program.
During a press briefing on Sunday, August 8, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. issued the remark in response to reports that children with complicated COVID-19 cases were admitted at the pediatric Covid-19 ward of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
“We have reported this to the President (Rodrigo Duterte) during our talk to the people, and we have stated that during the Delta attack in India, more than 9,000 in a village were children,” Galvez said.
“We proposed to the NITAG (interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group) we have to include children as soon as possible considering they will also be vulnerable, particularly children with comorbidities,” he added.
He continued: “We have seen in PGH the three critical there, dalawa doon may (two of them have) comorbidities. Very vulnerable and bata kasi nakikita natin hindi pa ganun kalakas kanilang resistensya (their resistance is not yet that strong) in terms of pulmonary diseases.”
Galvez said they may start vaccinating children and teenagers by the end of September or October this year, adding that the government was negotiating for at least 26 million vaccine doses for pediatrics vaccination. The age group to be included in the vaccination program cover 12 to 17 years.
“Initially ang nakita natin we will start from 12 to 17. Sa ngayon ang priority population is 18 and above. Pfizer applied for EUA (emergency use authorization) with our Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and FDA already approved it, and Sinovac has already applied, most likely it will be approved by FDA. Three years and above ang Sinovac. Once we have enough supply of those vaccines, we can start for as long as the experts will allow their use for the 12 years and above and maybe three years and above,” he explained.
As of August 8, the total number of vaccine doses administered in the country had reached 24,174,821, Galvez noted. Out of the total, some 13 million Filipinos already received the first dose, while 11 million are already fully vaccinated.
Galvez also said they are expecting around 14.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in the country this month.