Vax for minors with comorbidities expands to all 17 local gov’ts in NCR next week
MANILA, Philippines — The COVID-19 vaccination of minors with comorbidities will be expanded to all local governments in Metro Manila next week, according to Gloria Balboa, director of the Department of Health (DOH) National Capital Region (NCR).
The government on Friday began the vaccination of children aged 12 to 17 with comorbidities, with the pilot program conducted in eight hospitals.
Balboa said this would be expanded next week to all 17 local governments in Metro Manila.
The local governments would identify the hospital where the vaccination drive for minors with comorbidities would be conducted, she added.
“Next week in Metro Manila, we have one hospital per [local government], and there are also private hospitals that volunteered, so we will include these,” Balboa said at the Laging Handa briefing.
Walk-ins may be permitted next week when the vaccination drive for minors is conducted in more hospitals, she said.
After the two-week pilot in Metro Manila, the vaccination drive for minors would be rolled out in other regions that have vaccinated at least 50 percent of their senior citizens, who are also priorities in the mass immunization drive, she said.
The DOH would also have to consider the availability of doses, she further said.
Balboa called on parents to have their children vaccinated because they could also get infected with the virus.
She said parents accompanying their children to vaccination sites must present the latter’s medical certificate attesting to their comorbidity and giving them clearance for the jab.
The parents would have to sign consent forms, while the children who are old enough to understand would also sign an assent form, she said.
They must also bring identification cards, she added.
Parents should also make sure that their children have been fed and are not hungry during their vaccination in case the effects of hunger are mistaken as a side effect of the shot, she said.
The DOH said it aimed to vaccinate 1.2 million children with comorbidities.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said at an online briefing that there were around 12.7 million children in the country, and based on official data, about 10 percent of them have comorbidities.
The National Vaccine Operations Center said that as of 4 p.m. on Friday, 1,031 children have been inoculated, with the majority vaccinated at Philippine Heart Center, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City, and Pasig City Children’s Hospital.
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