Vaccinating minors for COVID-19 urgent amid Delta variant — Gatchalian

Vaccinating minors for COVID-19 urgent amid Delta variant â Gatchalian
Children are seen playing at the Bernardo Park in Quezon City in this July 10, 2021 photo
The STAR / Boy Santos

MANILA, Philippines — A senator on Sunday urged government to begin vaccinating minors as authorities report more cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19.

Health officials have confirmed that local transmission of the Delta is underway. By July 29, the number of persons infected from the variant was at 216, with eight deaths.

"Kids might not get infected as fast as science says," said Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian in a statement. "But their parents, the shopkeepers, sari-sari store owners, they might be susceptible to the virus's spread."

Minors had been prohibited from going out of their homes as government ordered stricter restrictions to limit people's movement. 

Authorities are also ramping up inoculations but it remains for this in the priority list. While local regulators have cleared Pfizer's COVID-19 jab for 12 to 15-year-olds, government has yet to open vaccinations for the age group. 

The Department of Health has said teenagers will not be included just yet in vaccinations citing limited supply of the jabs in the country.

Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, said vaccinating children is crucial to a safe return to classrooms. 

Schools in the country were shut last year due to the pandemic. Classes have since been carried out remotely, often spelling difficulties for those without access to internet and gadgets. 

"The approach to school opening should be very cautious and the step forward to that is to launch pilot schools in zero COVID areas," the senator added.

China's Sinovac also sought for the Food and Drug Administration's emergency use approval for its vaccine to as young as three to 17-year-olds.

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