This website requires JavaScript.

Vaccination For General Adult Population Starts

Vaccination For General Adult Population Starts
Vendors, delivery drivers and others who work at the night market in Divisoria, Manila wait for their turn to get inoculated with COVID-19 vaccine on July 5, 2021. Photo by Miguel de Guzman, The Philippine STAR

Local government units (LGUs) may now start the inoculation of all adult Filipinos against COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Monday, Oct. 11.

“We would like to announce the start of the COVID-19 vaccination among the general adult population. It had already started actually,” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said, noting that senior citizens and people with comorbidities are still prioritized for inoculation.

“We hope that there will be special dedicated lanes for seniors and those with comorbidities,” she added.

Vergeire also gave assurance the DOH is ready to start this Friday, Oct. 15, the pilot vaccination of pediatric patients or minors with comorbidities ages 12 to 17.

The DOH had earlier identified 11 pre-existing health conditions that will qualify a minor for a COVID jab: medical complexity, genetic conditions, neurologic conditions, metabolic/endocrine or cardiovascular disease, obesity, HIV infection, tuberculosis, chronic respiratory disease, renal disorders and hepatobiliary.

“It requires the preparedness of our health care system and we are prepared,” Vergeire said, adding that participating hospitals (Philippine Heart Center, National Children’s Hospital and the Philippine General Hospital) are ready with the necessary logistics for pediatric jabbing.

Only Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be given to minors because these are the only ones with emergency use authorization.

Creative, collaborative

National Task Force Against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. challenged all LGUs to be “creative and collaborative” and closely work with stakeholders to ramp up the vaccination rollout.

“They can request and tap the PNP and AFP if they need vehicles to transport people or health care workers to vaccination sites. They may also partner with the private sector or other sectors to make things happen,” Galvez said, referring to the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

He also thanked the US government, COVAX Facility, World Health Organization and UNICEF for helping the country achieve its target of 100 million total vaccine deliveries by end of the month.

On Saturday, Oct. 9, more than 1.3 million doses of Moderna arrived in the country followed by 918,450 doses of Pfizer vaccines on Sunday, Oct. 10, courtesy of the United States government through COVAX.

On Sunday until Monday, about 2,115,369 doses of Pfizer shots arrived aboard Emirates Air flight EK 332 from Abu Dhabi. As of Oct. 10, the country has received a total of 86,494,050 COVID-19 vaccine doses, with 22,561,180 jabs from the COVAX Facility.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government needs at least P45 billion every year to purchase booster shots, saying this will be an investment that will protect the population from new variants and shield the economy from new lockdowns.

“This is an investment really in people’s health and without that, I don’t think the economy can safely reopen. If we don’t have booster shots, we will have ups and downs in our economic recovery program. It is really mandatory that we provide vaccines,” Dominguez said. – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Elijah Felice Rosales, Rudy Santos