The government’s “phased and sequential” approach in the COVID-19 vaccinations for; children is aimed at preventing Dengvaxia-like events, the National Task Force against COVID-19 said on Wednesday.
Several former and current officials of the Department of Health are facing criminal charges filed by parents of children who allegedly died from complications that arose from inoculation of the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
“So sa ngayon po talagang takot ang mga ibang mga doktor at takot din‘yung mga ibang mga magulang dahil kasi nga po ‘yung children vaccination is a very sensitive issue sa Pilipinas po talaga (So now, there are fears among doctors and parents because vaccination of children is a very sensitive issue in the Philippines),” Secretary Carlito Galvez, also the vaccine czar, told President Rodrigo Duterte during a televised Cabinet meeting.
Galvez reiterated that the pediatric age group vaccination against Covid-19 will be done “in phases and incremental.”
“Dahan-dahan po ang gagawin po natin para at least may kumpiyansa po ‘yung mga ating mga magulang at saka mga guardian, ang gagawin po natin is ‘yung tinatawag nating phased approach (It will be done slowly so at least the parents and guardians will have the confidence in our phased vaccination approach),” he said.
The vaccination of minors with comorbidities will be prioritized, Galvez added.
Galvez said the inoculation of minors will be piloted in eight identified hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Included in the list are the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children’s Hospital, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, and Philippine General Hospital, the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children’s Hospital, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center Philippine General Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital-BGC, and the Makati Medical Center.
As many areas nationwide have volunteered to join the pilot run of the pediatric vaccination, Galvez said this only implies that vaccine acceptance, even for the young population, is now increasing.
He said the vaccination of minors will benefit the gradual opening of face-to-face classes, slowly reviving the economy, and even addresses issues on the psychological aspects of youth affected by the stay-at-home protocols during the pandemic.
He said Phase 1 involves the inoculation of 15 to 17 years old, which will be done first, followed by the 12 to 14 years group, starting October 15.
Phase 2 involves a mini rollout of pediatric vaccination in all local government units in the NCR, which will be done right after the 14-day test run in the eight hospitals listed.
“After we have observed at least–one week of our pilot, then we will execute the second phase on October 22,” Galvez said. “In NCR, they are already prepared to have that pilot project in every city.”
Galvez added the third phase will begin on October 29 in the entire NCR and in its nearby areas that have vaccinated at least 50 percent of their elderly (A2) population.
The country’s Food and Drug Administration has initially approved the emergency use authorization of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the pediatric age group vaccination.