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Kids With Comorbidities Will Be Prioritized In Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination, Says The DOH

Kids With Comorbidities Will Be Prioritized In Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination, Says The DOH
Image by @CDC / Unsplash

Herd immunity happens when a big portion of the population develops resistance to a disease, either because of a previous infection or through vaccination. When this is achieved, the risk of spreading the virus is lessened, and the entire community becomes protected. To achieve herd immunity against COVID-19, it is crucial that a large percentage gets vaccinated, including children and teenagers.

The good news is that the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 shots to be administered to children aged 12 to 17 years old.

The Department of Health (DOH) said that pediatric vaccination will prioritize kids with comorbidities as part of the A3 group. According to their September 29 press release, the child’s parent or guardian will need to give an informed consent prior to vaccination. There will also be access to a pediatrician to obtain medical clearances for children with comorbidities.

“In finalizing the guidelines, the DOH is ensuring that (1) informed consent by the parent /guardian and child prior to vaccination will be obtained; (2) supply availability of Pfizer and Moderna, the only vaccines with emergency use authorization for 12 to 17 years old issued by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration; and, more importantly, (3) equitable access to medical clearance by a physician for children with co-morbidities.”

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In a press briefing on October 4, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire enumerated the 11 comorbidities that makes children eligible for pediatric COVID-19 vaccination, as follows:

medical complexity
genetic conditions / autoimmune disorders
neurologic conditions
metabolic and endocrine conditions
cardiovascular diseases
HIV infection
chronic respiratory disease
renal disorders
hepato-biliary disorders

In addition, she says that children from far-flung areas may get their clearances from on-site trained physicians.

“For the initial run, we recommend that children with comorbidities will be vaccinated in selected sites with clearance from their pediatricians or trained doctors, or for far-flung or Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA), with clearance from on-site trained physicians guided by a checklist from the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines.”

During the September 28 Laging Handa briefing at the Palace, DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje mentioned that the rollout of vaccines may start in Metro Manila as early as October 15.

Uumpisahan natin sa National Capital Region kasi maganda-ganda na ‘yung kanilang coverage ng kanilang vaccination,” she said. “Pagkatapos ng dalawang linggo, ito ‘yung tinatawag na test run, dadalhin na natin sa iba’t ibang rehiyon.”

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COVID-19 jabs for the general public

As of late September, around 44 million COVID-19 jabs have been administered in the Philippines, with over 20 million Filipinos fully vaccinated and 23 million inoculated with the first dose.

As the country is expecting to receive more doses of coronavirus vaccines, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez, Jr. says that they are hoping to administer around 500,000 to 800,000 shots daily by October.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also said during a briefing, Magsisimula na po ang pagbabakuna sa general population itong buwan ng Oktubre. Ito po ay inaprubahan na ng Pangulo sang-ayon sa advice ni vaccine czar Carlito Galvez. “Antayin natin ‘yung detalye, pero ‘yung mga A1, A2, A3, hindi naman po mawawala ang kanilang priority.”

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