The government eyes beginning vaccination programs for kids and teens against COVID-19 by late September or October, said Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. on Sunday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as he oversaw the shipment of 326,400 Moderna doses.
"We proposed to the NITAG (interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group) we have to include children as soon as possible considering they will also be vulnerable, particularly children with comorbidities," Galvez noted.
This remark was in response to reports of children with complicated cases of coronavirus admitted at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
"We have seen in PGH the three critical there, dalawa doon may (two of them have) comorbidities. Very vulnerable and bata kasi nakikita natin hindi pa ganun kalakas kanilang resistensya (their resistance is not yet that strong) in terms of pulmonary diseases," he said.
The vaccine czar added that the government has been negotiating to procure 26 million doses for the young age group, covering 12- to 17-year-olds.
Malacanang has announced that it aims to ramp up vaccination during the two-week imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20 to cover at least half of the population in NCR. The government imposed the two-week ECQ to stem a feared surge in COVID-19 infections driven by the more transmissible Delta variant, which was first detected in India and has since wreaked havoc in other countries.
Even as the government races against the Delta variant with more vaccinations, local government units in NCR recently also belied reports that unvaccinated individuals will not be allowed to receive cash assistance or go out during the ECQ. The government disclaimer came after a record number of crowds suddenly trooped to vaccination sites a day before the ECQ took effect.
(Banner and thumbnail photo: The Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Manila City Government facilitated the vaccination of film and entertainment industry workers on August 09, 2021 at the Adamson University in Manila. KJ Rosales / The Philippine Star)