MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is targeting to vaccinate minors aged 5 to 11 beginning Friday, February 4.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire made the announcement in a press briefing on Tuesday, January 25.
“Katulad po ng nabanggit ng ating vaccine czar, ang target po natin simulan ang bakunahan para sa 5 to 11 is on Feb 4, 2022,” she said. (Like what our vaccine czar has said, we target to start the vaccination for 5 to 11 years old on February 4, 2022.)
COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech will be used for the pediatric vaccination as this was the only vaccine that received emergency use approval for 5 to 11 years old from the Philippines’ Food and Drug Adminstration.
“Bagama’t parehong Pfizer vaccine ang ibibigay sa 12 to 17 at 5 to 11, magkaiba po ang formula ng bakuna para sa kanila. Para siguradong tama ang bakuna na ituturok, magkaiba ang kulay ng takip sa mga botelya ng bakuna. Iba po ang kulay sa 12 to 17, at iba rin po sa 5 to 11,” Vergeire said.
(While it’s only the Pfizer vaccine that will be administered to 12- to 17-year-olds and 5- to 11-year-olds, the two age groups would have different formulas. To ensure that they will receive the right vaccine dose, the lid of the bottles would have different colors.)
The Pfizer vaccines to be administered to children aged 5 to 11 will have a lower dosage and lower concentration than those given to youths aged 12 to 17.
On Saturday, January 29, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said that unlike the vaccination campaign for 12- to 17-year-olds, prioritization of kids with comorbidities will no longer be observed in a bid for faster vaccination.
“Hindi kagaya noong 12 to 17 na nauna ang may comorbidity, gusto natin mas mabilis ang bakunahan, kaya pagsasabayin natin ‘yung pagbakuna ng may comorbidity at walang comorbidity,” she said in a Laging Handa briefing.
(Unlike for the 12- to 17-year-olds, where the ones with comorbidities were prioritized, we want to expedite vaccination, so we will allow [children] with and without comorbidities to get vaccinated at the same time.)
Parents of kids with comorbidities will still be required to present a medical certificate.
The DOH said that there are at least 32 sites for the vaccination campaign, including the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and the Philippine Heart Center.
Vergeire said that parents can already enlist their children for vaccination in their respective local government units.
“Magdala po kayo ng mga dokumento na nagpapatunay ng relasyon ng anak sa magulang katulad ng birth certificate, baptismal certificate, at iba pa,” Vergeire said. She added that parents must also their valid ID with photo and their kids valid ID.
(Bring documents that will prove your relationship with the child like birth certificate, baptismal certificate, and others.)
On Saturday, Cabotaje presented the full list of requirements that parents need to prepare for their child’s vaccination:
- Child is accompanied by parent or guardian
- Proofs of relationship (e.g. birth certificate)
- Valid ID of child, with picture
- Valid ID of parent or guardian, with picture
- Medical certificate, if with comorbidities
- Well-fitted face mask and face shield
- Writing materials
- Alcohol, fan, water, as necessary
If the child does not have a valid ID, Cabotaje said the barangay captains can be witnesses in proving filiation.
While COVID-19 cases in children tend to be mild, the DOH reminded the public that vaccinating young kids will provide another “mantle of protection” for the whole family, especially for those under five who cannot be vaccinated yet.
Cabotaje said that as of Saturday, 168,355 children aged 5 to 11 were registered for vaccination, which will be expanded as more supplies of vaccine arrive in the country.
The vaccination of kids is a welcome news as the Department of Education has planned to eventually transition to limited face-to-face classes by school year 2022 to 2023.
The country just began vaccinating 12 to 17-year-olds in October 2021. Booster shot administration was only opened to all adults in the first week of December 2021. – with reports from Michelle Abad/Rappler.com