The Philippines’ vaccination program has taken another huge step this October 2021 — minors aged 12 to 17 in Metro Manila can now get the vaccine. After a successful pilot run, a nationwide COVID-19 vaccine rollout will begin on November 3. With the threat of the contagious Delta variant and other possible mutations looming over our heads, getting every Filipino vaccinated is a top priority. Here’s what you should know about getting the vaccine for minors.
Do minors need to be vaccinated?
Early studies have found that while minors can catch COVID, most don’t seem to experience the severe stages. Minors with the virus are often asymptomatic, causing them to unknowingly spread the virus to adults. Getting minors vaccinated can reduce their risk of catching and spreading COVID-19 as well as getting severely ill from it.
With minors aged 12 to 17 inoculated, it also means that we’re one more step into the new normal e.g. reopening schools, boosting the economy, and recovering lost time.
Which minors should not be given the vaccine?
While minors aged 12 to 17 are given a green light to get inoculated, the vaccine isn’t available yet to those younger than 12 years old. Vaccines are still undergoing clinical trials for this age group.
(Note: The US FDA just greenlit the Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11-year-old children.)
What are the requirements for minors to get vaccinated in the Philippines?
Locally, vaccination for minors aged 12 to 17 started last October 15. The Department of Health (DOH) started allowing minors with comorbidities who fall under the A3 priority group to be part of the initial rollout. DOH also identified 11 pre-existing illnesses that will be considered a priority:
- Medical Complexity
- Genetic conditions
- Neurologic conditions
- Metabolic / endocrine conditions
- Cardiovascular disease
- HIV infection
- Chronic respiratory disease
- Renal disorders
Where can minors get vaccinated in the Philippines?
- National Children’s Hospital (Quezon City)
- Philippine Heart Center (Quezon City)
- Fe Del Mundo Medical Center (Quezon City)
- Philippine Children’s Medical Center (Quezon City)
- Pasig City Children’s Hospital (Pasig)
- Philippine General Hospital (Manila)
- Makati Medical Center (Makati)
- St. Luke’s Medical Center (Taguig)
On Oct. 27, Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said that the country will begin its nationwide rollout of the vaccine for minors aged 12 to 17 on Nov. 3. But before that, they will open “40 to 50 hospitals” nationwide on Oct. 29 for a pilot run.
What do guardians need to know?
Minors can be accompanied by their parents or guardians to the vaccination site. If the minor falls in the A3 priority group or has a pre-existing illness, the parent/guardian must give informed consent and present a medical certificate as proof.
Which vaccines are approved for minors?
Vaccines that received regulatory approval for minors are Pfizer and Moderna. As for the dosage, minors are given the same dosage and ingredients as the ones for other age groups.
According to Galves, the Philippine government is allocating 60 million doses for minors in the country. 18,666 immunocompromised minors in Metro Manila received their jabs as of Oct. 26. It aims to finish the vaccination for minors by December.
Are there risks or side effects?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there may be possible side effects for minors just like with all other age groups. There might be pain, redness, and swelling on the arm where they got the shot. Within two days after the dose, they could experience tiredness, headache, muscle pain, nausea, chills, and even fever. But these effects should wear off in a few days.
Last Oct. 18, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that there have only been four reports of minors with adverse reactions to the vaccine and these were all minor cases. One minor experienced high blood pressure which eventually subsided, two had stress-related reactions, and another one had a minor allergic reaction. But Vergeire also clarified that these reports are not yet official.
So should minors get the vaccine?
Absolutely. Vaccines not only prevent you from contracting and spreading the virus but are also a huge help in minimizing one’s risk of getting severe COVID-19 illness. Children should also get the same protection adults have in the face of this virus.