DOH: Pediatric vaccination, booster jabs may be extended to February
MANILA, Philippines — The COVID-19 vaccination for minors aged 12 to 17, and the administration of booster shots for priority groups may be extended to January or February, the Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday.
According to DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, pediatric vaccination will cover an estimated 12.7 million children, while around 10 million healthcare workers, senior citizens, and immunocompromised are expected to receive an additional dose of vaccines.
“As to the supplies, Secretary [Carlito] Galvez has committed that there are incoming vaccines, around 30 plus million doses to come in the country until the end of the year. We are not saying we will be able to finish all of these sectors overnight. It is going to be done in phases and we are looking at a spill over until January or February of next year,” she told ABS-CBN News Channel’s Rundown.
Vergeire said the government is looking at having more vaccinators, expanding hours of vaccination, and adding more vaccination sites to accommodate more individuals.
The DOH earlier approved the recommendation of the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) to give booster shots and additional jabs against COVID-19 for priority groups.
The HTAC recommended that those to first get booster shots will be healthcare workers, followed by seniors and “eligible priority groups.” The council also suggested that a third dose be administered to immunocompromised individuals, but only after 28 days from completion of the initial COVID-19 vaccine series.
Booster shots are given to those whose immunity against COVID has waned over time, while third doses are provided to people who did not generate a sufficient immune response following their vaccination, according to DOH.
Pediatric vaccination only for those aged 12 to 17 with comorbidities started on October 15. Galvez earlier said that the nationwide rollout of inoculation for all children within the same age bracket, including those without comorbidities, will start on November 3. The government is aiming to finish the vaccination of minors by December.
Meanwhile, the vaccination of booster shots for priority groups will likely start by November, according to Galvez.
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