The National Government, together with the eight participating hospitals in the National Capital Region (NCR), today commenced the pilot run of pediatric vaccination of 12 to 17 year old children with comorbidities, with the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III and National Task Force for COVID-19 (NTF) Chief Implementer Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. attending the ceremonial launching at the National Children’s Hospital.

The DOH said that, as part of the wider coverage of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out in the country, children in this age group with comorbidities are scheduled to receive the vaccines with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), namely, Pfizer and Moderna. The initial run of the vaccination will also be conducted in hospitals where children will be screened and monitored by doctors, and facilitating referrals will be easier in case of serious adverse events following immunization. It will also be conducted in a phased approach, wherein part of the expansion plan is implementing it in regions where there is more than 50% coverage for Priority Group A2.

“Sa ating pagbibigay proteksyon sa mga kabataang ito, atin ring mapoproteksyonan ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay. Sa ating mga magulang at mga kabataan, kayo ay aming hinihikayat na makilahok sa pagbabakunang ito. Katuwang ng ating mga eksperto, doktor, at mga pediatricians, makakaasa kayong patuloy naming babantayan ang pagbabakunang ito,” said Secretary Duque.

As of 4:00 PM, the National Vaccine Operations Center (NVOC) reported a total of 1,031 children inoculated, with the majority coming from the Philippine Heart Center, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City, and Pasig City Children’s Hospital.

The DOH estimates that there are around 1.2 million children with comorbidities from ages 12 to 17 in the country. Children with following comorbidities are eligible for vaccination:  1) medical complexity (i.e. those with long term dependence on technical support); 2) genetic conditions; 3) neurologic conditions; 4) metabolic/endocrine diseases; 5) cardiovascular diseases; 6) obesity; 7) HIV infection; 8) tuberculosis; 9) chronic respiratory diseases; 10) renal disorders; 11) hepatobiliary diseases; and 12) immunocompromised due to disease or treatment.

The DOH and the COVID-19 National Vaccination Operations Center have likewise conducted several town hall meetings with concerned stakeholders like hospital chiefs and directors, vaccination teams, and even parents to cascade the operational guidelines and other pertinent preparations that the DOH and implementing sites are undertaking for the pilot roll-out.

While the pilot implementation of pediatric vaccination has started, the DOH continuously encourages the adult population, especially the senior citizens, to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccines are available in their area. DOH likewise urges everyone, even the fully-vaccinated, to continue practicing minimum public health standards to protect from getting infected and infecting others with COVID-19.