DILG CHIEF ANO SIDES WITH LGU DECISION TO PROTECT CHILDREN
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has said he strongly agrees with the decision of some local government units (LGU) chiefs to allow only the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years old with the consent of their parents or guardians.
“Parent’s consent is a requirement before any child is administered with Covid (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccine,” he said, adding parental consent is something that should be done.
Año made this comment after Quezon City Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte, Valenzuela City Mayor Rexlon “Rex” Gatchalian, Malabon City Mayor Antolin “Lenlen” Oreta III, and Navotas City Mayor Tobias “Toby” Tiangco issued the condition separately even as vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. assured the public that the jabs were “safe and have been studied by scientists across the globe.”
In justifying their decision, the four mayors said they have a responsibility to their constituents whom they must guide and protect.
Vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years old is scheduled to start on February 7.
Galvez said around 167,000 children have been registered to take part in the inoculation.
The government aims to inoculate 15.5 million children aged 5 to 11.
Earlier, Galvez said vaccination for children of this age group would bring a greater sense of normalcy to their lives and enable the government to achieve its goal of providing an increased level of protection to all Filipino families.
Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration for 5-to-11-year-olds.
The formulation for this age group is lower compared to those administered to the older groups.
Galvez said the Philippine government purchased 30 million doses of the reformulated Pfizer vaccines, of which 7.5 million will arrive in the first quarter and another 7.5 million in the second quarter.
Among the initial vaccination sites identified in Metro Manila are the Philippine Heart Center, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, FilOil Gym in San Juan City, Manila Zoo, and SM North Edsa.
Galvez expressed confidence that the rollout would not be affected by the petition filed on Thursday in Quezon City by two parents who asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order halting the vaccination of children.
“We cannot go out to the new normal without the vaccine so nakikita namin na it (the vaccine rollout) will proceed,” he added.
The Philippines kicked off its pediatric vaccination program for minors aged 12 to 17 last October.
As of February 3, over 9.1 million individuals from the said age group have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 jab.