Covid jabs for minors in NCR in full swing

Asia's Tech News Daily

LOCAL governments in the National Capital Region (NCR) on Friday shifted to high gear in vaccinating adolescents against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The pediatric vaccination program covers individuals aged 12 to 17. Given priority were minors with pre-existing conditions such as genetic and neurologic disorders, metabolic/endocrine diseases, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, obesity, and tuberculosis.

Covid jabs for minors in NCR in full swing
© The Manila Times HOW THEY LOOKED Fear, anxiety, anguish and deathly calm can be seen on some of the faces of minors aged 12 to 17 who received their first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19 in Metro Manila on Oct. 22, 2021. PHOTOS BY ENRIQUE AGCAOILI, JOHN ORVEN VERDOTE AND J. GERARD SEGUIA

All local governments, except Valenzuela City, launched rollouts. The cities of Taguig, Makati, Pasig and Muntinlupa, and the town of Pateros had been pilot-testing the inoculation of minors since the last week of September.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved pediatric inoculations using the Comirnaty vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech and the Spikevax vaccine from Moderna, which were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The cities of Las Piñas, Pasay and Parañaque conducted the inoculations in public hospitals. Marikina used a sports venue, Mandaluyong set up a vaccination site at the SM Megamall, and San Juan inside the Cardinal Santos Medical Center.

Las Piñas public information office chief Paul San Miguel said at least 200 minors were jabbed and Mayor Imelda “Mel” Tobias Aguilar said the city plans to inoculate 300 minors a day.

Pasay City recorded an initial 84 minors inoculated.

Parañaque information chief Mar Jimenez said around 80 minors with comorbidities were administered the Pfizer vaccine. Mayor Edwin Olivarez said around 25,000 minors registered for vaccination.

In Marikina, at least 326 minors received the jabs, according to Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Reyes Teodoro

“First, the hospitals in Marikina are too small to be used as vaccination sites. Second, this place is safer because it is spacious, large; we can follow the necessary safety protocols and procedures because more people are here,” said Teodoro.

The city plans to inoculate about 5,000 minors with comorbidities within 10 days.

Mandaluyong information chief Jimmy Isidro said 120 minors with comorbidities were jabbed with the BioNTech vaccine.

San Juan Mayor Francisco Javier “Francis” Manlapit Zamora said at least 140 minors with comorbidities were vaccinated.

In Manila. Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said the inoculation of youths is aimed at restoring a sense of normalcy in the capital.

“Maaring nabakunahan na natin ang mga may edad, pero paano ‘yung mga bata? Wala namang science na nagpapatunay na hindi sila maiimpeksyon (We may have already vaccinated the older ones, but what about the youth? There is no science that can prove they will not get infected),” Domagoso said during the rollout at the Ospital ng Maynila.

He said 23,354 Covid-19 doses were reserved for minors.

In Caloocan City, Mayor Oscar “Oca” Malapitan inspected the vaccination sites at the Caloocan City Medical Center and Caloocan City North Medical Center, which have 200 slots each for minors with comorbidities.

Navotas Mayor Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said 150 minors would be given the Pfizer vaccine at the Navotas City Hospital.

Malabon City Mayor Antolin “Lenlen” Oreta said 97 minors with comorbidities were scheduled for the first day of vaccination.

Quezon City Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte said the kickoff of the rollout will be held at the Quezon City General Hospital.

“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.

In Valenzuela, Mayor Rexlon “Rex” Gatchalian said the city was “still in the process of assessing those that have registered early and we will start as soon as they are finalized then the drive will continue.”

On Friday, the Department of Health reassured that the pediatric vaccines are safe and effective.

The aim is to inoculate more than 144,000 adolescents with comorbidities.

Speaking at the ceremonial rollout at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-An said there will be constant monitoring to detect adverse reactions following immunization.

He said vaccinating minors will provide a “better environment” for the youth after the nearly two years lockdowns stunted their growth.

“They have not, since the start of the pandemic, been able to go to school, through which they are taught to socialize with other children and adults… they are not being able to meet their family members and relatives through restrictions, and they are not getting the physical activities that growing children should, [and] the lockdown has also affected their mental health,” Tong-An said.

Dr. Maria Paz Corrales, National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) medical consultant, said the success of the pilot vaccinations was the reason the government decided to expand the program to other hospital sites in Metro Manila.

NTF Special Adviser Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, in a separate event at the Quezon City General Hospital, said pediatric vaccination is important since the threat of children getting the symptoms of long-term post-Covid syndrome is real and can affect their growth.

According to the National Vaccination Operations Center, 5,781 adolescents aged 12 to 17 had been inoculated at the eight pilot sites as of October 21.

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