The Department of Health (DOH), through the leadership of Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III, spearheaded the “Chikiting DOH Ligtas Laban sa COVID-19! Ceremonial Vaccination of DOH Kids” today at SM San Lazaro. DOH officials, parents, and legal guardians accompanied their children, ages 5 to 11 years old, to get their first dose of the FDA-approved Pfizer BioNTech vaccines.

“With more Filipinos getting vaccinated against COVID-19, we are getting closer to giving our children a more holistic social and cognitive development, with the resumption of face-to-face classes and regular play time with friends and family. We extend our gratitude to the SM Supermalls for their big sense of corporate social responsibility, which is a testament to their compassion to our kababayan,” said Secretary Duque.

One of the children administered with the FDA-approved Pfizer BioNTech vaccine was Francis Bernard M. Cabotaje, nephew of National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) Chair and Undersecretary of Health for Field Implementation and Coordination Team (NCR and Luzon) Myrna C. Cabotaje.

“I am with my aunt today because I believe that the COVID-19 vaccine will bring safety and protection to our family. I am not afraid of the needle because I know that an ant-like amount of pain will be worth it to handle because I know that I’ll be saving more than one life,” said Francis Cabotaje.

During the event, SM San Lazaro came up with creative ways to make pediatric vaccination compelling and memorable for the parents, guardians, and especially the children through providing free snacks, mascots, and a party-themed venue setup.
Latest data show that a total of 263,932 children from the 5 to 11 year old age group have been inoculated with their first dose since the country began its pediatric vaccination rollout for said age group last February 7, 2022. With 482 available vaccination sites opened nationwide, coverage will further be expanded to other regions.

“I am standing here, a senior citizen, nagpabakuna na po ako at nakapag booster na, a government official of the Department of Health, and a parental figure. I have my pamangkin, the son of my brother, I have my apo sa aking pinsan, joining all of you here who believe and participate in this COVID-19 vaccination. We stand here because we are informed, we choose to be protected, and we take part in
communicating this choice to each and every Filipino who remains unsure of the safety and efficacy of our vaccines,” said NVOC Chair and Undersecretary of Health Myrna C. Cabotaje.