DOH not yet keen on vaccinating minors: Protecting adults also protect children
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health will not yet recommend the vaccination of minors at this time due to the lack of COVID-19 vaccine supply, but it made an assurance that unvaccinated children would also be protected by protecting adults first.
“We need to consider the current vaccine supply before we decide to allow the vaccination of children. That’s why the recommendation of the DOH stays — to give priority to adults based on our prioritization framework,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III explained, speaking partly in Filipino, in a taped briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday.
“Our experts said we can consider actually giving vaccination to children who might be having comorbidities. This might help in giving them additional protection from lethal COVID-19,” he added.
To date, only Pfizer has an emergency use authorization for the use of its COVID-19 vaccine on those aged 12 to 15.
Duque then explained the concept of “ring vaccination” — meaning inoculating the persons surrounding the children.
“Our experts recognized the effect of ring vaccination. This is what they call the cocoon concept in which, for example, if there are five in a house, four of them will be vaccinated. The child, even if not vaccinated, will already be protected,” he said.
“Vaccinating adults will also be good for the children. That’s why, as long as we lack supply, we’re proposing that adults will be prioritized,” he added.
On Sunday, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the national vaccine manager, said his task force had proposed to the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group to include children in the vaccination program, especially those with comorbidities.
He made the statement after the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) reported treating six pediatric patients for COVID-19.
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