THE National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) said the operational guidelines for the inoculation of adolescents (12 to 17 years old) have been drafted as the government continues to expand the vaccine rollout coverage and inoculate at least 50 percent of the country’s target population by year-end.
Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr. made the announcement during the launch of the Philippine Vaccine Certificate and Bakuna Panalo Ka raffle promo on Monday.
“Naniniwala kami na dapat nang masimulan ang pagbabakuna sa mga kabataan upang mabigyan na sila ng agarang proteksyon laban sa COVID-19. Ito rin ang magiging susi sa ating pagbubukas ng mga paaralan para sa limited face-to-face classes,” said Galvez.
“The initial rollout will only involve a couple of thousands [of] individuals under the age group. It will be phased, monitored, and sequential,” he added.
Galvez said the pilot implementation will be divided into two phases: the 15 to 17 years old age bracket will go first, followed by the 12 to 14 years old group.
The pilot launch will be held in six sites, which include the Philippine Children’s Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, Philippine Heart Center, Pasig City Children’s Hospital, Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, and Philippine General Hospital.
He said that after 14 days, the rollout will be expanded to cover select local government units in the National Capital Region (NCR), which include Manila, Pasig, Taguig, Makati, Quezon City, and Mandaluyong.
And 30 days after the rollout, the vaccination program will be move to cover the rest of the NCR, including other regions that have inoculated at least 50 percent of their senior citizens or A2 group.
IATF Chairman and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said that there will be pre-requisites prior to inoculation for this particular age group, among which is parental consent since minors will be inoculated.
The DOH chief also explained that the pilot implementation will be held in hospitals to ensure the safety of the children, and provide them with immediate medical attention in case of adverse effects following immunization.
The NTF earlier announced that the pilot implementation will be limited to children of healthcare workers, as well as those with comorbidities.
Meanwhile, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos said that Metro Manila LGUs are all set to inoculate their younger population.
He said the pre-registration for the said age group had started prior to the go signal of the NTF, as local government units are now in the process of determining the number of individuals with comorbidities.
The NTF is set to allocate 60 million doses of vaccines for the inoculation of this age group, which has a total population of around 26 to 29 million.
Galvez said that based on the initial tally, there are about 12.7 million Filipinos within the 12 to 17 years age group who are qualified to get the jab.