The upcoming vaccination against COVID-19 for children aged 5 to 11 years old has 168,355 registrants as of Saturday, the Department of Health announced Saturday.
Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said there would be no separate vaccination for children in this age range who have health risks, but they must show a medical certificate clearing them for immunization.
“Unlike when we first vaccinated kids 12 to 17 with comorbidity, this time we want our vaccination to be faster, so we will vaccinate kids (5 to 11) with or without comorbidities together,” Cabotaje explained in a televised public briefing.
Thirty-two vaccination sites have been identified in Metro Manila, including the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, and Philippine Heart Center, for the February 4 and 5 pilot roll-out.
On February 7, four hospitals in the Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions will also participate.
Cabotaje said about 15.5 million children can be inoculated, based on the Philippine Statistics Authority data.
“We will do it by tranches depending on the vaccines that will arrive,” she said.
Parents or guardians must bring the child’s birth certificate or any proof of filiation. Children aged seven and above would also have to sign an assent form.
Cabotaje said the pediatric vaccination will initiate the “cocoon protection” for families, especially those with children below five years old who cannot yet receive the COVID-19 jab.
She said 15 million doses of the lower-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected to arrive in the first and second quarters this year. On February 3 and 9, 1.56 million doses will be shipped to Manila.
“We are expecting weekly deliveries after that. We are still determining the quantity but for the next two quarters, the 15 million doses would be delivered,” she said.
As of Wednesday, the Philippines already partially vaccinated at least 60.2 million individuals, while more than 58.4 million are already fully immunized. More than 7 million, meanwhile, already received their boosters.
In a related development, seven children in Virac town, Catanduanes who played with medical waste found in the vicinity of their village tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
Authorities antigen-tested the children, ages 3 to 11, after they played with used syringes disposed in the coast of Barangay Concepcion. A woman who was seen scolding the children for playing with medical waste was also infected.
Concepcion barangay chief Anthony Arcilla said the children have been isolated and given vitamins and medicine. They are set to undergo RT-PCR testing on Monday.
The medical waste was first spotted along Concepcion’s coast this month. According to barangay officials, the laboratory where the waste
came from claimed responsibility for the incident and apologized at a village council session.
The village council found out the laboratory representative who participated in the session tested positive for COVID-19, prompting
the council members who came into contact with the laboratory representative to go into quarantine.