DOH: Children with comorbidities to be prioritized during vax rollout for minors

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MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Wednesday that pediatric immunization will begin among children aged 12 to 17 with comorbidities as part of the A3 priority category.

The agency stated in a press release that expanding the immunization campaign beyond this group would occur after the A2 priority group (senior citizens) has been adequately covered and vaccine supply is sufficient to include children.

“For the initial run, we recommend that children with comorbidities will be vaccinated in selected sites with clearance from their pediatricians or trained doctors, or for far-flung or Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA), with clearance from on-site trained physicians guided by a checklist from the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

The DOH confirmed that informed consent from the parent or guardian and the child would be requested prior to the immunization.

It will also secure the provision of US-made Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are the only vaccines with emergency use authorization for children aged 12 to 17 released by Philippine Food and Drug Administration, as well as equal access to medical clearance by a physician for children with comorbidities.

“We have to ensure that children have equitable access to vaccines. Eventually, as we get more local experience, we will be able to retool our current vaccinators on the additional precautionary steps on screening and vaccine administration,” Vergeire said.

The department stressed the significance of well-planned vaccine launch for children.

Given that the danger of getting severe Covid-19 infection or dying from it is substantially lower among healthy children, the benefit of vaccination in comparison to the risk of a healthy child is also lower compared to a sick child, adult, or senior citizen.

The DOH has reiterated its call for adults who are eligible to be vaccinated to protect children who are not yet able to receive the vaccines.

“Like what our DOH All Expert Group has always emphasized, even if we have approved the recommendation to vaccinate children with comorbidities, we still have to increase our vaccination coverage among other priority groups, especially our senior citizens,” Vergeire said.

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.