23,727 minors vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of expanded rollout — DOH

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
23,727 minors vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of expanded rollout � DOH
Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-an administers a COVID-19 vaccine on an adolescent during the ceremonial program of the expanded inoculation efforts at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center on October 22, 2021
Release / Department of Health

MANILA, Philippines — More than 23,000 adolescents have now been vaccinated for COVID-19, a health official said Thursday as authorities prepare to include more of the age group in the rollout by November. 

The figures reported by Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje reflect two weeks of inoculation efforts that were opened for minors on October 15, under a pilot system in select Metro Manila hospitals. 

By November 3, officials said, they will kick off a full rollout in the capital region and will go nationwide on November 5.

This would see more hospitals administering the jabs and children between 12 to 17 even without comorbidities receiving it. 

"On the issue of the supply, we have enough already to cover them," Cabotaje said in a briefing.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is not yet mandatory in the Philippines. Parents would have to give their consent, and minors would also need to give their assent.

Health officials, however, have long stressed the importance of vaccinations in preventing severe to critical coronavirus infections. 

Of the more than 23,000 vaccinated so far, Cabotaje said they have recorded only 25 cases of adverse effects following immunization. 

Three cases —  one with severe allergy or anaphylaxis and two requiring oxygenation —  were considered serious.

The Department of Health is targeting to inoculate 12.72 million of the adolescent population.


Cabotaje said the goal is to vaccinate at least 80% of that by December this year, giving them only two months to get the shots to 10.21 million minors.

Calabarzon has the most number of minors to get the jabs at 1.83 million, followed by the National Capital Region at 1.44 million, and Central Luzon at 1.38 million.

The health official added speeding up vaccination of adolescents could help in efforts to allow more students to return to classrooms soon. 

Some 90 public schools have so far been cleared by the Department of Education and DOH to join the pilot run on in-person learning that would begin on November 15.

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"This will also help build confidence that children who are vaccinated can now join the face-to-face classes," Cabotaje said in Filipino. "We know they have experienced mental disruption, having to stay at home for nearly two years now."

Local drug regulators have so far cleared two vaccines for minors: Pfizer and Moderna, which have received emergency use approval. 

Nationwide, some 26.47 million Filipinos are now fully vaccinated for COVID-19, out of the government's target of 77.13 million this year. 

There are also 31.01 million who have received their first dose. 

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