Vaccinate kids below 18 years to get 80% COVID-19 vax coverage — exec
MANILA, Philippines — The government needs to vaccinate children below 18 years old if it will increase its vaccination target to 80 percent of the population in order to protect more people amid the threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant, the chairperson of the National Vaccine Operations Center (NVOC) said Tuesday.
At present, the government aims to vaccinate 70 percent—or around 70 million Filipinos—of its over 100 million population in order to reach herd immunity against COVID-19. But according to Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, there is a “looming proposal” to increase the vaccination coverage to 80 percent.
“With the Delta variant, there is a looming proposal na kailangan taasan pa ang vaccination coverage to 80 percent, so that will mean i-include na natin ang below 18 years old,” she told an online media briefing.
(With the Delta variant, there is a looming proposal to increase the vaccination coverage to 80 percent, so that will mean we should include those below 18 years old.)
Cabotaje said the 70 million targets for vaccine recipients already cover those aged 18 and above.
“We are cognizant of the fact that we really need to increase our targets but we will need to look at our vaccine supply and also at the different efficacy of different vaccines that will be considered,” she added.
Cabotaje said they are also studying if children below 18 years old should be vaccinated simultaneously with the general population. The health official said vaccination for the general public may start in September or October.
“Based on studies, baka pagsabayin, depende sa supply so we don’t need na pagkatapos ng general population bago ang children,” she said.
(Based on studies, children and the general population could be vaccinated simultaneously, depending on the supply, so that we don’t need to wait for the general population to be vaccinated before the children can.)
“It will all come from studies abroad and our own studies kung kailan magbabakuna ng bata (on when children can be vaccinated) and if we should wait for the general population to be vaccinated before the adolescents. In the next coming months masasagot na ang mga katanungan na ‘yan (these questions will be answered) with data coming in,” said Cabotaje.
Cabotaje also noted that local experts are “not discounting the fact that we might need to give the vaccine to children below 18, possibly 16 to 18, especially those with comorbidity.”
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