Over 1,000 children with comorbidities jabbed against COVID-19 on start of pilot

The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, October 15, reported that over 1,000 children with comorbidities or preexisting illnesses have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine during the start of the pilot run of vaccinations for minors aged 12 to 17.

"Actually, naging matagumpay po yung simula ng vaccination rollout for our pediatric population with comorbidities kahapon," said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire at a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, October 16. "As of 8 pm last night, ang total po ng nabakunahan na mga bata na may comorbidities was 1,151."

(Actually, the start of our vaccination rollout for our pediatric population with comorbidities yesterday was successful. As of 8 pm last night, the total vaccinated children with comorbidities was 1,151.)

Vergeire said that there were no reports of untoward or adverse reactions among the children vaccinated.

According to the DOH, there are around 1.2 million children aged 12 to 17 with comorbidities in the country.

Philippine drug regulators granted emergency use authorization to vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna for minors as young as 12 years old in June and September, respectively.

The Philippines on Friday joined a number of other countries that are vaccinating minors against COVID-19. The pilort run is being done in select hospitals in Metro Manila.

Due to limited vaccine supplies, the Philippine government gave priority to children with comorbidities. Check this page if your child is eligible to receive the jab.

The DOH said part of the expansion plan of the vaccination for minors is to implement it in regions where there is more than 50% inoculation coverage for the A2 sector or the elderly.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III encouraged parents to register their children for vaccination. Check this page for more information about the government's vaccination program for minors.

"Sa ating pagbibigay proteksyon sa mga kabataang ito, atin ring mapoproteksyunan ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay. Sa ating mga magulang at mga kabataan, kayo ay aming hinihikayat na makilahok sa pagbabakunang ito. Katuwang ng ating mga eksperto, doktor, at mga pediatricians, makakaasa kayong patuloy naming babantayan ang pagbabakunang ito," Duque said.

(In giving protection for these children, we also give protection to their loved ones. To our children and parents, we encourage you to join in this vaccination drive. With the help of our experts, doctors, and pediatricians, rest assured that we will continue to monitor this inoculation program.)

The pilot run of vaccination among minors was a welcome development for parents, students, and teachers, as this could be a possible game changer for high school-age students who have been kept at home for two pandemic school openings. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.