Vaccination of minors begins; regional rollout considered within October

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MANILA – Immunization of minors aged 15 to 17 will commence on Friday, with an initial distribution for provinces planned by the end of the month.

National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. announced on Thursday night that the Department of Health had conducted a simulation after evaluating the eight initial Metro Manila hospitals chosen for the pilot.

“We are ready. We’ve given 1,700 Pfizer (doses) to each vaccination site and in fact, there are many hospitals and local government units who are asking also for the pilot,” he told reporters upon the arrival of some 862,290 doses of government-procured Pfizer-BioNTech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

The select hospitals for the pilot pediatric vaccination are the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children’s Hospital, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center (Bonifacio Global City), and Makati Medical Center.

Galvez stated that Iloilo, Cebu, and several areas in Calabarzon and Central Luzon had requested that the task force be included in the program.

The national government would prefer to examine and complete the immunization on the eight sites first, but Galvez stated that the rollout across the provinces would begin this month.

“[On] October 22, we will have a run down to the different regions also and more or less November 5, we will have the full vaccination of children ranging from 15 to 17, basically those people who have comorbidities,” he said.

Following the first phase for minors aged 15 to 17, the inoculation will be extended to minors aged 12 to 14.

Galvez guaranteed that there would be sufficient supply because the majority of fresh Pfizer deliveries would be given to Calabarzon, Central Luzon, and pediatric vaccination in the National Capital Region.

He further said that Manila has bought more than 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which would be delivered in tranches of roughly 11 million each month.

“So starting October, ang procured natin (we’ve already procured) 11 million and we are very thankful to the US government and COVAX Facility and the World Health Organization for giving another 10 million for the Philippines,” he said.

United States Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava joined him in welcoming the more than 800,000 Pfizer doses at NAIA Terminal 3, who recounted the US’ achievements in its teenage Covid-19 vaccination program.

“Pfizer vaccine is one of the safest and most effective of the Covid vaccines and so we’re delighted to see more coming to the Philippines,” she said.

“We have more than 10 million teenagers in the US who have been vaccinated and you know, the results are very good. I think vaccinating our children is a wonderful way for them to be able to resume some in-person schooling which is very important for their future and the future of our country. We’re so proud to partner with the Philippines on our Covid relief efforts,” she added.

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.