Mayor Joy Belmonte, chief executive of the Philippines’ most populous city, last week urged the national government to include minors in the country’s vaccination program.
This plea followed reports that over 100 children in the Gentle Hands Orphanage in Brgy. Bagumbuhay contracted Covid19 after an infected adult’s visit.
According to data from the city’s Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit (CESU), over 12,000 minors have tested positive for the virus. Minors comprise 30% of the city’s population.
“What health experts are now pushing for cannot be achieved in our city if we will not allow children or those below 18 years to get Covid19 vaccines, and help them as well from getting seriously sick from the virus,” she said.
She added that Quezon City is ready to start administering vaccines to minors once the national government gives it the go-ahead.
“We understand there is a vaccine shortage at the moment but once our country gets a regular supply of vaccines with FDA approval for vaccinating 17 and below, we should consider this right away,” she said.
On the issue, Food and Drug Administration director-general Eric Domingo said: “It’s a great initiative on the part of LGUs to start registering adolescents because we will eventually get there, at a time when we will already vaccinate children.”
The governments of Pateros, Makati and Caloocan have reportedly already taken steps in that direction.
In Manila, vaccine registration for minors, specifically those aged 12 to 17 was opened.
The FDA previously authorized Pfizer and Moderna jabs for individuals in this age group, but Manila mayor Isko Moreno said that the national government still had the final word in allowing such vaccinations.
Photo: Joy Belmonte FB