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What we know so far about the pilot COVID-19 vaccination for minors aged 12 to 17

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Oct 07, 2021 4:23 pm

The government has set the pilot inoculation of minors aged 12 to 17 against COVID-19 starting Oct. 15 in some areas of Metro Manila.

National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez said in a press briefing on Oct. 6 that with the approved operating guidelines for the pediatric age group, ages 15 to 16 years old will be inoculated first, followed by ages 12 to 14.

Consent from parents or guardians is needed before a minor can get a jab.

The Department of Health (DOH) also announced recently that children with comorbidities will be prioritized in the pilot implementation of the pediatric vaccination.

In a press briefing on Oct. 4, DOH spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire released a list of conditions, which was cited by the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines.

The following comorbidities are:

• Cardiovascular diseases

• Obesity

• HIV infection

• Tuberculosis

• Chronic respiratory diseases

• Renal disorder

• Hepatobilliary

• Medical complexity  

• Genetic conditions

• Neurologic conditions

• Metabolic/endocrine

Those who have comorbidities would need to secure a doctor’s clearance before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Where are the vaccination sites for the pilot vaccination of minors?

Vergeire said the initial roll-out of minors’ vaccination will be done in select hospitals in Metro Manila in order to monitor the children well in case of any adverse effect of the vaccines. 

In a press briefing on Oct. 7, the national task force against COVID-19 released a list of the vaccination sites, which from an initial six was expanded to eight. These include the following: 

• Pasig City Children’s Hospital

• Philippine General Hospital (Manila)

• St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City (Taguig City)

• Makati Medical Center

• Philippine Children’s Medical Center (Quezon City)

• National Children’s Hospital (Quezon City)

• Philippine Heart Center (Quezon City)

• Fe Del Mundo Medical Center (Quezon City)

What are the vaccines that will be used for minors?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier approved the emergency use authorization of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for the inoculation.

The FDA approved the use of Pfizer to adolescents ages 12 to 15 in June, while it approved Moderna for children ages 12 to 17 in September.

How long will the pilot run be?

Galvez said that the pediatric vaccination will start on Oct. 15.

After the 14-day test run, Galvez said the vaccination will be expanded to some local government units within Metro Manila.

And after 30 days, vaccination for minors will be expanded in the National Capital Region and other areas outside of Metro Manila that have vaccinated more than 50% of its A2 priority group (senior citizens) population.