LIST: 11 co-morbidities of children to be prioritized for COVID-19 immunization

Robie de Guzman   •   October 4, 2021   •   171

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday released the list of co-morbidities of children that will qualify them for COVID-19 vaccination.

The DOH said the list is based on the recommendation of experts from the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP).

The following medical conditions would make children aged 12 to 17 years old eligible for vaccination against COVID-19.

  • Medical complexity
  • Genetic conditions
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic/endocrine
  • Obesity
  • HIV infection
  • Tuberculosis
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Renal disorder
  • Hepatobillary

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said children participating in the pilot COVID-19 vaccination program should be well-informed and must get clearance from their doctors.

“Major po na pre-requisites, kailangan po may clearance ng doktor ang ating mga kabataang babakunahan with comorbidities, kailangan may informed at assent itong gagawing pagbabakuna,” she said.

“Ibig sabihin ang kanilang magulang ay kailangang magkaroon ng consent dito, pipirma sila sa dokumento at pangalawa iyong bata mismo na babakunahan ay may assent para rito,” she added.

The DOH earlier said that children aged 12 to 17 eligible for vaccination will be part of the A3 priority group (persons with co-morbidities). Their immunization may start on October 15 in select hospitals.

The government will be using Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the vaccination of this age group, as these were granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.

The DOH said local government units (LGU) will have the responsibility to register and gather the master list of children for COVID-19 vaccination.

“Through the LGUs pa rin tayo so hindi natin babaguhin iyong proseso… It’s just that ang vaccination site mismo nasa ospital pero local governments pa rin ang magma-manage niyan,” Vergeire said.

Even with the imminent vaccination among minors, the DOH continues to urge adults to get COVID-19 shots, especially among the elderly, to protect them against getting severe forms of the disease.

4Ps beneficiaries na fully vaccinated na vs COVID-19, bibigyan ng insentibo — DSWD

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Makatatanggap ng dagdag na insentibo ang mga benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) na nakakumpleto na ng bakuna kontra COVID-19.

Ayon kay Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rolando Bautista, nakatakdang maglabas ng executive order si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte kaugnay ng programa.

“The president will issue an executive order on how to grant incentives to the members of 4Ps once they submit themselves for vaccination without violating the regulations governing the program,” ang pahayag ni Bautista nang bumisita ito sa isang vaccination center sa Zamboanga City noong Martes.

Hindi binanggit ng opisyal kung anong insentibo ang ibibigay sa 4Ps beneficiaries.

Ayon sa DSWD chief, mas marami na ngayong 4Ps beneficiaries ang interesado nang magpabakuna matapos magsagawa ng information drive ang pamahalaan kaugnay ng hakbang.

“We explained to them that they really need to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease during the conduct of the family development sessions,” ani Bautista.

2.5 million vaccinated in day 1 of PH vaccination drive – DOH exec

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – More than 2.5 million individuals were inoculated against COVID-19 on the first day of the government’s three-day nationwide vaccination drive, a Department of Health (DOH) official said Tuesday.

In a public briefing, DOH Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said a total of 2,554,023 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered on Monday.

This is 2.5 times the daily average last week, she added.

Of the total doses, the biggest chunk was administered in Calabarzon, followed by Central Luzon, Western Visayas, and Bicol regions.

Cabotaje, who also chairs the National Vaccination Operations Center, noted that the only “major challenge” they encountered in the first day of the vaccination drive were reports that some walk-ins at vaccination sites were not given the shots.

“Meron pong direktiba ang ating Presidente to vaccinate everyone… We allow walks-ins. Dapat po, walang uuwi na nakapila na hindi nabakunahan,” she said.

The government on Monday kicked off its three-day vaccination campaign, dubbed as “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” program, which aims to inoculate around 9 million people.

The campaign will end on Wednesday, December 1.

The National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 earlier said the vaccination drive will only be the first leg of the program, which is focused on scaling up the inoculation rate of local government units for the first vaccine dose by covering up to 70% of their target populations.

The second leg of the vaccination event will be held from December 15 to 17, which will focus on ramping up the number of fully vaccinated individuals to achieve the government’s target of fully vaccinating at least 54 million Filipinos by year-end.

Duque says entry of Omicron variant to PH ‘a matter of when’

Robie de Guzman   •   November 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III believes that it is only a matter of time before the newly discovered Omicron COVID-19 variant reaches the country.

“It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ okay? It’s a matter of ‘when’,” said Duque when asked by President Rodrigo Duterte on the possibility of the Omicron variant entering the Philippines.

“So talagang iyan po, papasok ‘yan just as we have experienced with Alpha, Beta, Delta among the more compelling variants of concern, Mr. President,” he added.

Duque said that with the looming threat of the highly mutated and potentially more contagious variant, the Philippine government should intensify its major interventions against COVID-19.

These include the strict enforcement of the minimum public health standards, including the continued wearing of face masks and even face shields.

“Ang talagang face shield ay under the three 3C — 3Cs context in the closed spaces, mga-face shield, in crowded areas, in close-contact settings just like in the transport sector where people as we have increased the carrying capacities of our public utility vehicles. I think now with the threat of this Omicron variant, it will be an added layer of protection that will really be good for the public,” he said.

Duque also underscored the need for the country to widen its vaccination coverage to achieve herd immunity and have an edge against the new coronavirus variant.

“Massive vaccination rollout under your directive, Mr. President; we need to really widen and increase the vaccination coverage to reach population protection,” he said.

“Of course, the first milestone by the end of December 31st, we hope to be able to completely jab 54 million Filipinos and then by February of 2022, we should be able to realistically achieve 77 million Filipinos to be completely inoculated,” he added.

He then emphasized the importance of strengthening and preparing the country’s health systems capacity.

“Let’s take advantage of our low number of cases and prepare the health systems capacity again for the worst-case scenario,” he said.

The Omicron variant has yet to be detected in the Philippines.

To prevent its entry into the country, the government has expanded the Red List of countries that have reported the presence of the variant.

The Philippine government has recently expanded the Red List to include Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, and Italy. This is in addition to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique that were earlier placed in the Red List due to the threat of Omicron, which was first detected in the region.

The Red List, which is effective from November 28 until December 15, means that travelers, regardless of their vaccination status, coming from or who have been to the Red List areas within the last 14 days prior to their arrival will not be allowed to enter the Philippines.

Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated or non-government-initiated repatriation and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry. However, they will be subject to the prevailing entry, testing, and quarantine protocols for Red List territories.

 

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