MNS photo

MANILA, Oct 26 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines is looking to finish the vaccination minors by December this year to protect them from severe COVID-19 infection, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said Monday night.

“Ang inaano po natin, matapos po yung children vaccination by December. Kasi magkahalo na ang vaccination sa first dose and second dose,” Galvez told President Rodrigo Duterte in a Talk to the People briefing.

“Kasi inopen ng NITAG [national immunization technical advisory group] at all expert group na magkaroon ng third dose sa health workers at immunocompromised,” he added.

The Department of Health reported that there are around 1.2 million children with comorbidities aged 12 to 17 years old nationwide.

Local government units in National Capital Region started the inoculation of minors with comorbidities last week.

“Ang maganda po matapos natin ang kabataan by at least December para at least yung mga ibang susunod na sektor after health workers di mag halo halo,” Galvez said.

Galvez said this would help recover the lost time of children after almost two years being restricted at home.

“Kailangan na bigyan ng kaunting leeway, to play and study at magkaroon sa social ng mga kaibigan. At the same time makapagJollibee po sila at Mcdonald’s doon sa mga dine in po natin,” Galvez said.

Quoting psychologists, Galvez said around 300% to 400% children are suffering from depression.

Galvez further pointed out that the government is seeking to inoculate 90% of teachers, students and personnel in schools before the end of November.

Local government units, likewise, must ramp up their first dosage to 70% by the end of November.

The vaccine czar, meanwhile, said they are expecting to achieve 100 million doses of vaccines this October as 3 million more doses are expected to be delivered this week.

Based on his data, Philippines received over 97,678,340 of various vaccines since its inoculation program began in March.

He also thanked Duterte for his “diplomatic capital” which helped in attracting vaccine donations from other  countries.

“We would like to thank your diplomatic capital dahil malaki po doon nag-gain ng attraction ng political relations with other countries,” he said.

HTAC recommendation on booster shots

After Health Chief Francisco Duque III approved Health Technology Assessment Council’s recommendation to administer booster shots, Galvez said a third dose for health workers would “most likely to start by November.”

But the emergency use authorization of vaccines must be amended to allow its use for booster shots, Galvez said.

“Ito po inaprubahan ni Sec Duque na magkaroon ng booster… Kailangan ma-amend ang EUA para maging third dose na po sa bakuna,” he said.

Galvez estimated that around 5 million people who were vaccinated from March to May this year will be the first to get COVID-19 booster shots next month.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, however, earlier mentioned that the proposals allowing booster shots had yet to be approved. (MNS)

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