While the national government's panel of experts approved COVID-19 vaccinations for children, they were still determining the optimum moment to start inoculations, the Department of Health (DOH) said Sunday.
"As a general policy, pumayag na ang all experts panel na magbakuna sa 12 to 17... yung time lang na kailan puwede at sino unahin," Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said on Dobol B TV, Cabotaje.
(Experts approved vaccinations for the age group but they are still choosing the date and priority for vaccination.)
"Inaayos pa ang polisiya at guidelines. Dapat umpisahan ang pagbabakuna sa mga batang may comorbidities," she added.
(Guidelines and policies are being set. Those with comorbidities must be the priority.)
For the inoculation of children, Cabotaje said the consent of the parents and their kids was still needed. Side effects of COVID-19 vaccines on kids are also being studied by experts.
Cabotaje added that the vaccination of children might be possible by October.
Reopening of classes
As for face-to-face classes, Cabotaje said they are coordinating with the Department of Education to vaccinate teaching and non-teaching personnel to protect children amid the proposed reopening of classes.
"'Di maproproteksyunan ang bata kapag sa environment niya ay hindi protektado," she said.
(The child won't be protected if their environment isn't protected.)
President Rodrigo Duterte previously said the country would vaccinate the general population by October.
As of September 18, the Philippines had fully vaccinated 18.2 million people, still far off the vaccination target for herd immunity. /
UNICEF, one of the largest child rights organizations globally, had flagged the Philippines for its continued closure of schools which is affecting over 27 million students.
As of August, the Philippines is also among the five remaining countries in the world that has yet to reopen face-to-face classes during the global health crisis. — DVM, GMA News