WITH the recent Food and Drug Administration’s approval of vaccines for the use of minors, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is now preparing for a city-wide registration and rollout of the vaccination program for the younger population.
The QC Task Force Vax to Normal, chaired by Joseph Juico, is currently working with public and private schools to determine the number of currently enrolled students aged 12-17 years.
Belmonte said the city government considers the inoculation of children as crucial to reaching population protection.
“For months we have been focused on inoculating 80% of Quezon City’s adult population or 1.7 million individuals 18 and above and we have now vaccinated more than that target. It is now time to shift our attention to minors because they are also vulnerable to the virus.
“Moreover, they comprise about 30% of the city’s approximately 3.1 million population and it is impossible to reach herd immunity or 80% of total population without including them,” she said.
The estimated number of students belonging to this age bracket is around 267,000, but there could be more students eligible for the vaccination program given that many stopped schooling during the community quarantine period, she stressed.
The data would then be used as a basis for the allocation and registration of this age group for the vaccines.
As of Sept. 15, 8 a.m., the city has administered 1,750,537 first doses or 102.97% of its target population. Fully vaccinated individuals stood at 1,232,681 or 72.51% of the target population.
Data from the City Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU) showed that as of Sept. 14, the city has recorded a total of 13,441 cases of COVID-19 among children aged 0 to 17.
The city mayor appealed to the national government to start allowing children to get vaccinated and issue the corresponding guidelines for the rollouts.
“We are closely working with our private and public schools because the strategy now is to put up sites in their campuses and school grounds,” Juico said.
As for the out-of-school youth, homeschooled and students enrolled outside the city, the task force is coordinating with barangay officials for proper enlisting of these children.
The online booking system developed by the city would also be activated once the vaccines for children are available so they can schedule the date, time, and venue of their inoculation.
“Rest assured that once we have the necessary guidelines and vaccine supply from the national government, we will immediately roll the vaccination program for minors,” Juico said. Dalisay Nolasco