(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Monday, 28 November 2022) Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) affecting Mindanao. Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Dinagat Islands will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due ITCZ. Possible flash floods or landslides due to moderate with at times heavy rain. Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due ITCZ / Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Light to moderate winds coming Northeast to East will prevail with slight to moderate seas / (0.6 to 2.1 meters).


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Vaccine czar: Gov’t to roll out vaccination for minors aged 5 to 11 years next month

The government will begin administering COVID-19 jabs to children aged five to 11 years next month as the country intensifies its fight against the coronavirus particularly after the emergence of the more contagious Omicron variant, the country’s vaccine czar said Monday.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members prior to his Talk to the People at the MalacaƱan on January 24, 2022. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

In his report to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during a meeting on government’s COVID-19 interventions, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said pediatric vaccination could start on February 4 as the government expects the delivery of vaccines for minors next week.

A memorandum guidance will be issued this week and town hall meetings, as well as series of trainings will also be conducted by the Department of Health (DOH) in preparation for immunizing minors five to 11 years old, according to Galvez.

“Mr. President, prepared na po tayo sa vaccination ng five to 11 years old. Last January ay nagkaroon po tayo ng live orientation ng pagbabakuna ang US Embassy ng mga bata sa ganitong edad,” he said, adding similar orientations will be held in other regions.

Galvez assured that the pediatric vaccination is “very safe,” noting that a lower dosage will be given to children.

“Makaka-assure po tayo sa ating mga magulang na very safe ang ating gagamitin na bakuna dahil ito ay mas mababa ang formulation na angkop para sa mga bata. Kaya kung makikita po natin sa vials may color coding, ‘yung orange at saka po ‘yung purple. Iyong orange po para po sa five to 11 years old,” he said.

The first leg of pediatric vaccination, which was for children aged 12 to 17, has also made the country more prepared and more experienced in handling vaccine rollout for minors, Galvez noted.

Capacity building of vaccination teams, vaccination site preparation, and vaccine site inspections also form part of the country’s preparation for the pediatric vaccine rollout, he said.

To expedite the vaccination of minors, the vaccine czar said two vaccination sites will be opened immediately in Metro Manila and gradually expand throughout the country by opening both hospital and non-hospital vaccination sites in different regions.

The Philippines aims to inoculate around 39 million minors aged zero to 17 years, he said.

Galvez, who is also the National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer, said pediatric vaccination is part of the Duterte administration’s strategy to acquire a “wall of protection” against the deadly coronavirus disease that will ensure population immunity against any COVID-19 strain or mutation. Other strategies include the booster shot program and vaccine rollout in pharmacies, he said. 

The administration of boosters, which has a three-month interval between doses, will prevent the vaccine’s efficacy from waning, while vaccine rollout in pharmacies and clinics will expand the vaccination even in far-flung locations where pharmacists will be authorized to administer the jabs for walk-in vaccination, he explained.

Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, who was present during the meeting, wants the government to incentivize pharmacies and clinics participating in the vaccination drive to entice more establishments to join. Senator Go is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Health.

As of January 24, at least 59.7 million Filipinos or 76.2 percent of the target population have received the first dose of COVID-19 jab, while 57.2 million individuals or 73.33 percent of the target population are fully vaccinated.

On the other hand, 8.72 percent of the target population have received booster shots. PND