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Government needs 38.67 million doses for pediatric jabs – Galvez

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
Government needs 38.67 million doses for pediatric jabs â Galvez
A health worker inoculates a child with a COVID-19 vaccine on October 15, 2021.
National Task Force COVID-19

MANILA, Philippines —  The government needs 38.67 million anti-COVID jabs for the vaccination of minors, National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Thursday.

Galvez said 12 million doses would be used for the vaccination of 12- to 17-year-olds; over 15.56 million for five to 11 years and about 11.11 million doses for infants and toddlers or the zero to four population.

“We have decided that the other vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer will be concentrated on the pediatric vaccination, considering that it will also be used as boosters for 12 to 17 years old,” Galvez said.

“We really have constraints with other (brands) of vaccines, considering that the other vaccines can only be used for primary series. We only have two vaccines that can be used for 12 to 17 years old while only one vaccine brand for five to 11 years old,” Galvez said.

The government is waiting for the emergency use authorization (EUA) of jabs for infants and toddlers aged zero to four, as it considers acquiring more than 60 million formulated or lower-dosed COVID-19 jabs as primary series and booster shots for a much younger population.

Earlier, Galvez said some 780,000 lower-dosed Pfizer vaccines are expected to arrive by the end of January, followed by 1,632,000 doses in February.

Limited F2F

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian is backing the progressive expansion of limited face-to-face (F2F) classes in areas under Alert Levels 1 and 2 for a faster recovery of the basic education sector from the impact of the pandemic.

President Duterte recently approved the Department of Education (DepEd)’s recommendation to expand limited F2F classes.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate basic education committee, added the expansion raises the urgency of vaccinating minors aged five to 11.

“While we’re slowly opening up schools, especially those considered as having low or minimal risk of COVID-19, protecting our learners should remain our priority,” Gatchalian said in Filipino.

There were 287 schools and around 15,000 learners that participated in the pilot run of limited F2F classes. According to DepEd, attendance in limited F2F classes is high at 83 percent, with no COVID-19 infection reported among the participants.

Earlier this month, DepEd shared results of a survey showing 97 percent of learners from Grades 1 to 3 and 86 percent of senior high school students were satisfied with their overall experience of F2F classes.

Meanwhile, Galvez said the government is eyeing to vaccinate 90 million Filipinos by June, giving assurance that there are enough funds for vaccines and auxiliary supplies for the national COVID-19 immunization program. –  Paolo Romero

COVID-19

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