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AS the country’s vaccine supply continues to increase, National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the government is confident that it can include the youth aged 12 to 17 in the vaccine rollout.

We already have enough supply for the pilot implementation. Our pilot rollout, initially, will be in Metro Manila,” said Galvez.

We want to open up our schools, and by vaccinating our children, we can sustain that,” Galvez said.

Galvez said that based on the NTF’s initial estimate, this age group (12 to 17) has a target population of about 12.7 million.

US Embassy Chargé d’affaires Heather Variava also welcomed the expansion of vaccine coverage in the Philippines, saying that the vaccinations of adolescents in the United States, which started in May, have been successful and safe.

The Philippines will be using Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the vaccination of this age group, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted both brands an Emergency Use Authorization for the 12 to 17 year-old age bracket.

Michelle Lang-Alli, US Agency for International Development (USAID) health director, noted that many have been spared from severe hospitalization and death because of the government’s aggressive vaccine rollout.

With this current surge we’re having, it could have been much worse particularly here in NCR (National Capital Region) if we [did] not [have] the vaccines and the efforts that are being made,” Lang-Alli, said.

Galvez agreed with the USAID official, saying that he expects the country’s vaccination rates are anticipated to go up following the steady vaccine arrivals.

This delivery is very timely, (because) when the cases are going down, the LGUs (local government units) can concentrate now on vaccinating more people,” Galvez said.

The National Vaccination Operations Center said that as of October 2, a total of 46,251,087 doses have already been administered nationwide. From this total, at least 24,513,343 doses were administered as the first shot, and 21,737,744 as second dose.

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