The nationwide inoculation for minors aged 12 to 17 will start on Nov. 3, with 40 to 50 more hospitals joining the effort, vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said Wednesday.
The second phase of the program was launched in eight selected hospitals in Metro Manila on Oct. 15.
The national government aims to finish the COVID-19 vaccination of minors before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is set to hit the 100 million mark in terms of total COVID-19 vaccine shipment arrivals.
As of Oct. 25, the country’s cumulative vaccine arrivals since February reached 97,678,340 doses, of which more than 77.99 million doses have been deployed to local government units, while 56.25 million doses have already been administered nationwide.
“This week, all we need is 2.3 million. And more or less, maybe by Wednesday or Thursday, vaccines from COVAX and other donations will arrive," said Galvez.
Galvez said that these additional vaccines would enable the country to fully vaccinate at least 50 million people before year end.
He added that apart from procured doses, vaccine donations from partner countries such as the United States, China, Japan, and Germany are expected to increase within this quarter.
Of the 97.67 million vaccine doses that have been delivered to the country, 24.33 million doses were donated through the COVAX facility, while 4.64 million were donations from bilateral partners.
More than 60 million doses were procured by the national government and 7.98 million doses were purchased by local government units and the private sector.
Galvez said the country still has more than 41.96 million doses in national ware houses that are ready for deployment to various implementing units.
He said the Department of the Interior and Local Government, as well as the Department of Health, have already told local chief executives of cities and provinces to accelerate their respective vaccination programs to hit and sustain the 1.5 million doses daily in this quarter.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are around 12.7 million children aged 12 to 17 in 2021.
As of Oct. 26, 18,666 minors with comorbidities received their first dose of vaccine during the initial phase of the pediatric vaccination in the NCR.
“Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will still be used among children during the nationwide rollout. Further details and the guidelines with regard to the nationwide expansion of pediatric vaccination will be released once finalized,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
Meanwhile, the DOH has urged the adult population, especially those belonging to priority groups A2 and A3, to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to achieve the cocoon effect which protects the children at home.
A total of 18,666 minors with comorbidities have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since the inoculation drive began on Oct. 15, the DOH said.
The DOH had said children seeking vaccination must get a clearance from their doctors as well as give their consent and assent.
Those with medical conditions such as medical complexity, genetic condition, neurologic conditions, metabolic or endocrine diseases, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, HIV Infection, tuberculosis, chronic respiratory disease, renal disorders, and hepatobiliary disease, and those who are immunocompromised due to disease or treatment are eligible for vaccination.