Second phase of vax for kids rolls out, adds more hospitals

The second phase of pediatric vaccination against COVID-19 began Friday, as the government rolled out the campaign to the entire National Capital Region.

Second phase of vax for kids rolls out, adds more hospitals
Children ages 12 to 17 years old pose for a photo souvenir after getting their first dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Ospital ng Maynila on October 22, 2021. Norman Cruz

To mark the start of Phase II, ceremonial vaccinations were held at Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Ospital ng Paranaque, and Quezon City General Hospital with DOH Undersecretary Roger Tong-an and Department of Interior Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya attending the ceremonies.

Mayor Edwin Olivarez of Parañaque, Mayor Francis Zamora of San Juan, and Mayor Joy Belmonte of Quezon City were at the events in their respective jurisdictions.

“As with the vaccination process of the adults, the vaccination for children will be closely monitored to detect adverse events following immunization to ensure the safety of our young vaccine recipients,” Tong-An said during the ceremonial vaccination at Cardinal Santos Medical Center.

Phase 2 adds to the initial list of eight hospitals participating in the pediatric vaccination. The additions to the list include Caloocan City Medical Center (North and South), Ospital ng Malabon, Navotas City Hospital, Valenzuela City Emergency Hospital, Marikina Sports Complex which is near Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, Quezon City General Hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center Quezon City, Ospital ng Maynila, Ospital ng Makati, SM Megamall Mega Vaccination Site which is near Mandaluyong City Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Ospital ng Muntinlupa, Ospital ng Parañaque 1, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, and Pasay City General Hospital. St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City will also cater to the municipality of Pateros.

Tong-An said vaccinating children would make a better environment, saying the lockdown has stunted their growth socially.

“They have not, since the start of the pandemic, been able to go to school through which they are taught to socialize with children and other adults. They have not been able to meet with other family members and relatives due to restrictions. They have not been getting the physical activities that the growing children should,” he said. “The lockdown may have also affected their mental health. As such, we are urging that eligible children and adolescents be registered following your hospital’s mechanisms. As with other vaccines, make sure that the doses are completed on schedule. And most importantly, in the time of the pandemic, practice minimum public health standards to protect from getting infected and infecting others with COVID-19 and its variants.”

The DOH also reminded everyone covered in the Pediatric A3 Group to first secure a vaccination schedule with the hospital and bring the following on the day of vaccination: 1.) medical certificate detailing the child’s comorbidity, 2.) valid IDs of both the child and the parent or guardian, and 3.) any proof of filiation like the birth certificate.

The vaccine recipient must also be accompanied by the parent or guardian at the vaccination site.

The government declared the first week of the pediatric vaccination a success.

“We’re very happy to report that the vaccination of children was very successful in the first week,” said National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.

Galvez made the announcement following the arrival of 1,014,390 doses of government-procured Pfizer vaccines at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Friday.

The government started inoculating minors (persons aged 12-17 years old) on Oct. 15.

The initial stage involved eight hospitals in Metro Manila targeting 15-17 years old individuals with comorbidity or those belonging to Pediatric A3 category.

Galvez had also recommended that children of health care workers be inoculated first.

On Friday, an additional 23 hospitals in the National Capital Region joined the second phase of the program.

Galvez said more than 4,000 children have already received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines, with only four reported cases of minor adverse reactions.

U.S. Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Heather Variava said she had visited one of the hospitals in Metro Manila to witness the inoculation of children.

“We’re delighted that more is coming in the Philippines specifically because we’re vaccinating children ages 12 and above. I had the opportunity to visit a hospital in Manila today when I saw some of the children being vaccinated,” Variava said.

The latest Pfizer vaccine shipment will be allocated to local government units in Cebu, Davao, and Metro Manila.

To date, 11,682,450 doses out of the 40 million doses of Pfizer vaccines purchased by the government from the US-based pharmaceutical firm have been delivered to the country.

The Manila city government on Thursday kicked off its mass vaccination of minors aged 12 to 17, said Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso.

Domagoso said the first batch of minors who got jabbed all came from the fifth district of Manila, where Ospital ng Maynila is located.

He also renewed his call to the adult members of the family to pre-register their children or wards so they can avail of the free vaccination too.

The vaccination of minors, the Manila mayor said, intends to prepare them for the face-to-face classes. He noted that they should also be protected since they belong to the age group most at risk of getting infected.

Domagoso said the city government has been preparing for the mass inoculation of minors for months, with about 50,000 already pre-registered.

About 23,354 vaccines have been reserved for this age group and the city government is still waiting for vaccine doses from the national government.

THE Quezon City government, meanwhile, has opened its online booking for the vaccination of minors with co-morbidities aged 12 to 17 to give them protection against COVID-19.

“We have seen in the past months how the virus has been affecting our kids as well. It’s high time that we expand the vaccination program to them. We, in the local government, would like to assure everyone that the inoculation process for the children will be as smooth, if not better, as the ones we had for the adults,” Belmonte said.

The kick-off activity was at the Quezon City General Hospital.

Dr. Maria Lourdes Eleria of the QC Task Force Vax to Normal said that Pfizer and Moderna would be used in the inoculation since these two vaccines were the only ones approved by the FDA for use by the target group.

Also on Friday, Mayor Oscar Malapitan observed the first day of vaccination in Caloocan City for young people aged 12 to 17 years old with comorbidity or illness.

Two local hospitals, Caloocan City Medical Center (CCMC) and Caloocan City North Medical Center (CCNMC) were open Friday to vaccinate the children with the Pfizer vaccine.

The two hospitals said they were ready to receive 200 slots each Friday along with those who booked their online appointment slots.

Walk-ins are also allowed for the said age group until 2 p.m. as long as they make sure that the requirements are complete.

The first to be vaccinated was Dan Alfred Garcia, 17, a Grade 12 student.

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