Galvez: Gov’t considers vaccinating children as young as 12

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MANILA – The chief implementer of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 said they are now considering the inclusion of children in the government’s inoculation campaign, as vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) continue to arrive in the country.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. made the statement on Sunday in reply to the news that children with complex cases of coronavirus had been confined to the pediatric Covid-19 unit 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. 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. 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 told reporters on the sidelines of the arrival of 326,400 doses of Moderna vaccine at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

“We are trying to look and maybe by the end of September or October, we will open up pediatrics and adolescent vaccination. Meron kami nine-negotiate na (We are negotiating for) more or less 26 million doses intended for our pediatrics vaccination,” he added.

Galvez stated that the age bracket they are targeting for immunization is 12 to 17 years old.

“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.

Meanwhile, Galvez added that the government will receive 224,400 doses of the newly imported Moderna vaccines, with the remaining 102,000 doses going to port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI).

“Ang bibigyan nito ay ang areas na mayroong surge dito sa Metro Manila considering na ang Moderna nakita natin limited lang ang volumes ngayon. Ang concentration to fight the variant will be in NCR and other surge areas (We will distribute it in areas experiencing a surge here in Metro Manila considering that we have a limited volume of Moderna. The concentration to fight the variant will be in the National Capital Region and other surge areas),” he said.

Galvez further stated that the newly supplied vaccines will be prioritized for the remaining unvaccinated medical frontline workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), and people with comorbidities (A3).

Galvez said 90,000 doses of Moderna will be distributed to reach the goal of 4 million jabs to scale up the vaccination program during the lockdown period from Aug. 6-20 in Metro Manila, which is now under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“Once we receive two doses, it has a tremendous effect on the variants. Even on the Delta variant, it prevents severe and critical cases, and even death. Malaki ang impact ng vaccination natin (Our vaccination has a big impact). It really saves lives and the vaccines can beat all the variants,” Galvez said.

He stated that as of Aug. 8, the total number of vaccine doses delivered in the country had reached 24,174,821, with 13 million Filipinos having already received their first dose and 11 million having received their full vaccination.

Galvez further said that another 14.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be supplied to the country this month.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.