June 7, 2023

Vaccination for the 12 to 17 year-old group may be done in the Cordillera if the region is able to vaccinate 50 percent of its senior citizens.

Based on the Oct. 13 announcement of the Department of Health central office, Cordillera is one of the regions that were included in phase 3 of the pediatric vaccination.

Phase 3 is set to start on Nov. 5, but the DOH said the date may change depending on the status of vaccination in the regions identified for such phase.

The number of senior citizens vaccinated in the Cordillera was not immediately known.

DOH-Cordillera Asst. Director Amelita Pangilinan said vaccination for the 12 to 17 age category is done in phases, the first of which is in hospitals in the National Capital Region.

Considered the pediatric population, the DOH included the 12 to 17 years old group to the A3 priority category of the government’s Covid-19 vaccination program.

Pangilinan said vaccination of the pediatric population is hospital-based to ensure the vaccinees are monitored well and the side effects, if there are, will be managed immediately.

Based on the guidelines of the DOH, those eligible for the vaccination are children with comorbidities. Parents’ or guardians’ consent must also first be secured before the child is vaccinated.

Pangilinan said the DOH is being careful in the vaccination of the pediatric population as the agency does not want a repeat of the Dengvaxia scare.

The DOH guidelines also provide that supply of the Pfizer and Moderna, the only vaccines with emergency use authorization for pediatric vaccination, must be secured.

Health officials have called on those in the priority groups to have themselves vaccinated as the government gradually opens the vaccination to the groups that were not included in the order of prioritization.

In Baguio, the city government started on Oct. 14 the registration for the 15 to 17 years old in preparation for the vaccination roll out.

Registration for the 12 to 14-year-old group will start towards the end of the month.

Enlistment for the vaccination is done through bakuna.baguio.gov.ph.

In terms of providing booster shots, Pangilinan said the stand of the DOH is to give first to those who still have no protection.

She said the agency supports the administration of booster shots, but only after those who need protection are already vaccinated.

At this stage of the pandemic where a lot of countries are yet to vaccinate their eligible population, the World Health Organization said booster shots must only be for people who did not respond to their first doses or if the performance of the vaccines is inadequate against the variants that emerged.

On the issue on waning immunity, the WHO said current evidence shows the vaccines are “holding up extremely well” in protecting the vaccinees against severe cases and hospitalization. – Jane B. Cadalig