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Health chief leads pilot child vaccination in Metro Manila

QUEZON CITY, (PIA) -- Health Secretary Francisco Duque III today personally led the pilot inoculation of immunocompromised youths in Quezon City against COVID-19, during the government's historic and simultaneous vaccine rollout launch in Metro Manila held at the National Children's Hospital.

Secretary Duque, who once again assured the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, personally administered the jab to a number of minors with any of the 12 comorbidities prioritized for the coronavirus inoculation.

We are launching here all our pediatric vaccination in general, in particular for those 12 to 17 years of age. There are 12 co-morbid conditions that are attached to this particular age group that, which the IATF and the Department of Health have decided should already have been vaccinated. We are all gathered here today precisely because of this very important launching of the pediatric age group vaccination,” he said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III administers a COVID-19 vaccine to an immunocompromised minor at the National Children's Hospital in Quezon City on Friday. (Photo credit: Joshua James Vicente of the Department of Health)


The health chief expressed optimism that today’s whole-of-society event renewed the country’s hope for the return to normalcy.

Pagkaisahan natin talaga na itong ating bakunahang pang-nasyunal ay maging matagumpay. Dahil talaga namang ito na lamang ang bukod tanging susi para manumbalik ang normal sa buhay ng mga Pilipino at bumangong muli ang sigla ng ating ekonomiya,” he emphasized.

Napakamahalaga po na lahat tayo rito, bawat isa rito sa atin [dahil] ito'y isang digmaan. Ang digmaan na hindi kaya po kung gobyerno lamang ang kikilos. Hindi po pupwedeng buong gobyerno lamang. Hindi po pupwedeng pribadong sektor lamang. Hindi po pupwedeng mga multi-faith sector, faith-based organizations lamang. Hindi po kakayanin ng mga non-governmental organizations, so lahat po tayo kailangang magkaisa dito,” he added.

Huwag na po tayong maghanap ng dahilan na magiging sanhi ng ating pagiging watak-watak. Kailangan hanapin natin ang isang dahilan kung bakit kailangan magkaisa tayo. At ito po ay dala ng matinding pangangailangan at pagtugon sa laban natin dito sa pandemya ng COVID-19,” he further said.

Secretary Duque also thanked and honored all the health care and frontline workers who work tirelessly to curb the virus spread.

If it weren't because of you, we were not able to successfully mount this successful response against the COVID-19 pandemic. Maraming salamat po sa inyo at hindi po masusuklian ang inyong mga sakripisyo. [Bagama't] alam ko po na talagang kayo ay nahihirapan pero kailangan po kayo ng taumbayan at sana po huwag tayong bibigay, magpakatatag po tayo, magpalakas po tayo ng ating loob, at ang serbisyong ginagawa naman ninyo ay talaga namang mahalaga. Kayo ang kumakalinga, kayo ang gumagamot, at kayo din ang nagsasalba ng maraming buhay, lalo na sa mga naapektuhan ng COVID-19 severe critical infection,” he said.

Eight hospitals, including the National Children’s Hospital, served as pilot vaccination sites for the vaccination of minors against COVID.

These hospitals were selected as vaccination sites to respond promptly in case of recorded side effects or allergic reactions in children. They also have adequate facilities to safely store sensitive vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna--the only two brands of the vaccine that have received emergency use authorization from the government for use on young people.

A total of 1,170 doses of Pfizer vaccine to be used in the first batch were sent to hospitals on Thursday. The age group of 15-17 years old will be injected first before those aged 12-14.

Pre-registered or pre-selected minors are to be vaccinated in the launch. The Department of Health (DOH) has also conducted inspections at the hospitals, including the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, Philippine Children’s Medical Center in Quezon City, and the Pasig City Children’s Hospital in Pasig City, among others.

The DOH reminds those who go for the immunization of children not to forget to bring their medical certificate that proves the child's comorbidity, a document that proves the relationship between the child and the parent, as well as a valid ID. (PIA-NCR)

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Alaine Allanigue

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