Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has assured the public the city government is ready to roll out its vaccination drive for minors 5 to 11 years old once the Department of Health and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 give the greenlight for the implementation of the program next week.
“Your city government is ready to vaccinate our youth aged 5 to 11 years old. We are just awaiting word from the DOH as to our schedule in Manila, when they will give us vaccines for children,” Moreno said in a public address via Facebook live Tuesday night.
The NTF has previously announced that vaccination for young children will start on February 4.
Moreno, however, could not say how many children can be accommodated per day as this will depend on the vaccine supplies, specifically formulated for this age group, that will come from the DOH.
The 47-year-old presidential aspirant once again urged the parents and guardians of the children within the allowed age bracket to pre-register them through the local government’s online vaccine registration site https://manilacovid19vaccine.ph.
“In preparation, I invite you to register your children aged 5 to 11 years on our Manila COVID-19 site so that, when the vaccines are deployed, vaccinations will take place quickly,” Moreno said.
Moreno allayed fears that vaccinating children below 12 years old could be risky, saying the inoculation of children in this age group has been recommended by the World Health Organization, the DOH and other health experts.
“So, let’s not worry. We were assured that the vaccine would be safe. It is more dangerous without a vaccine,” the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer stressed.
According to the DOH, some 780,000 doses of Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine would arrive on January 31. There will be weekly deliveries to complete the 15 million shots of the two-dose vaccine ordered by the government.
The government is aiming to vaccinate 14.7 million children in the 5 to 11 age group, the youngest so far authorized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
While the city government is awaiting the go signal from the NTF, Moreno said the vaccination of the target population, including the inoculation of minors age 12 to 17 years old, is still ongoing.
As of 6 p.m. of January 25, Moreno said a total of 248,274 minors have been vaccinated. Of these, 135,124 minors got their first jabs while a total of 113,150 have been fully vaccinated.
While the city has long achieved herd immunity with the vaccination of more than 150 percent of the target population, the Manila government will continue to encourage non-vaccinated individuals to get inoculated and will continue to welcome non-Manilans who troop to the city government’s various vaccination sites.
Moreno earlier said the Manila Health Department is planning to use the redeveloped Manila Zoo as a vaccination site for minors aged 5 to 11 as the national government plans to roll out the first pediatric vaccination on the first week of February.
Moreno said the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden is an ideal vaccination site. The 5-hectare recreation facility has lots of open spaces and after their vaccination, children and their grandparents can go around to see the animals, the garden and the museums.
The new Manila Zoo now boasts of new and exciting facilities that include world-class animal enclosures – especially for Mali the elephant – that are surrounded by transparent glass where visitors can get up close to the animals.
Elevated viewing decks around the enclosures are also in place. There is also the Animal Museum, Botanical Garden, and the Butterfly Garden with its own viewing loft, and separate enclosures for Filipino endemic animals and birds.
The city government also maintains a 24-hour drive-thru booster shot caravan for 4-wheel vehicles in front of the Quirino Grandstand; a drive-thru booster shot for motorcycle and bicycle riders at the Kartilya ng Katipunan, drive-thru vaccination facility for drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) at the Bagong Ospital ng Maynila, as well as continuous vaccination in community health centers, designated shopping malls and public schools, and on-site booster shot for construction workers in all ongoing city projects.