Government to Give Teens COVID-19 Vaccines in Hospitals Due to ‘Dengvaxia Syndrome’

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) – Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the initial phase of vaccination of adolescents against COVID-19 will be carried out at some hospitals in Metro Manila due to the controversy over the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.

Vaccines for the coronavirus will be administered at the National Children’s Hospital, the Philippine Heart Center, the Philippine General Hospital and two other hospitals in the capital region from October, Galvez said. The reason is to keep children safe, he added.

“Gusto namin hospital based for sigurado tayo. Alam natin ang mga tao natin and even our doctors, meron tayong takot ng Dengvaxia syndrome,” Galvez said upon the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday.

[Translation: We want it done in hospitals just to be sure. We know that the public and even our medical practitioners are wary because of the Dengvaxia syndrome.]

More than 800,000 young Filipino students participated in the Dengvaxia vaccination program in 2016. Drugmaker Sanofi Pasteur later reported that the vaccine was found to be riskier for people previously uninfected with the virus, resulting in urged the Ministry of Health to stop the national dengue vaccination program. .

This controversy has led to low confidence in the vaccine in the country, which continues to plague the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Galvez said that is the reason why the current vaccination program will be gradually extended to children.

Although President Rodrigo Duterte has authorized the vaccination of minors between the ages of 12 and 17, Galvez said the initial focus would be on adolescents between the ages of 15 and 17 who are at health risk and those living with them. health workers.

“Very careful in vaccinating children,” he said. “Gagawin natin itong dahan-dahan, step by step, gradually … Slowly and surely. ‘Yung safety naandon.”

[Translation: We will be very cautious when it comes to children’s vaccination. We will do it slowly, in a phased and incremental manner. Slowly and surely so we can ensure safety.]

The DOH said on Wednesday that the vaccine supply is also one of the reasons the government chooses to immunize children against COVID-19 on a phased basis.

Galvez said 15 million doses of Pfizer and 5-7 million doses of Moderna are expected to arrive in the country in October. These are the only brands that have received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for use on minors.

San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora said his city keeps its Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for allocation to children once the pilot race begins.

The health ministry said parents or guardians must give informed consent for children who will be vaccinated. They must also present a medical certificate proving that the minor has comorbidities.

The final and detailed guidelines have not yet been released by the relevant agencies.

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