DOH allows booster shots for children ages 12-17

A third dose of vaccine or booster against COVID-19 will be encouraged by the new administration, in particular to ensure the safe resumption of face-to-face classes, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday.

“With Omicron, you apparently need a third booster, a third dose. We will encourage this, especially for the younger ones because, again, we have to be concerned about their return to school,” the president said during his government’s first cabinet meeting in Malacanang.

“It’s the general policy. We will reinstate vaccination campaigns again so that we can at least feel safer when children return to school,” Marcos added.

The Department of Health (DOH) announced Tuesday that all children ages 12 to 17, including non-immunocompromised, can now receive their first COVID-19 booster at their respective local government units.

“Yes! Children ages 12-17 can now receive their supplemental/booster doses,” the DOH said in a notice posted to Facebook and Twitter.

Last week, the government postponed the administration of the first booster dose of COVID-19 for non-immunocompromised children due to some “problems”.

In another development, the Supreme Court ordered that all courts under Alert Level 1 and Alert Level 2 be required to maintain at least 50% to 75% staffing from July 5 through July 8.

Acting on behalf of Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, the Office of the Court Administrator issued a circular on Tuesday, which was prompted by the continued increase in COVID-19 cases and to address a possible increase.

“The staffing skeleton that a branch or judicial office will maintain during the above period will be subject to the discretion or determination of the relevant executive judge, presiding judge and/or acting/assistant judge,” the statement reads. circular.

The court also said judges are also permitted to hold fully remote videoconference hearings from July 4 to July 8, regardless of their location, with notification to the Office of the Court Administrator.

“Unless otherwise specified later, required labor and in-person or face-to-face hearings … will again be observed and adhered to on July 11, 2022 until further court order,” he said. .

Amid rising COVID-19 cases, Marcos on Tuesday compared the more transmissible Omicron variant to the flu, saying it doesn’t hit as hard as other variants.

The president was asked if he had an immediate directive after the DOH reported a total of 7,398 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday from June 27 to July 3, 2022.

He then stressed that the country still has the capacity to handle new COVID-19 infections, which now average at least 1,057 cases per day.

“If we look at where we started, we still have the capacity to handle new cases of COVID,” he said, indicating that the public is now learning to live with the viral disease.

“Fortunately, we shouldn’t be looking at the number of COVID cases the same way we looked at them in 2020 and 2021 because this is Omicron. Omicron is very different, he’s a bit contagious, but he doesn’t hit as hard,” he added.

Marcos said individuals infected with Omicron are usually inactive for only about two to three days, unlike earlier variants such as Alpha and Delta.

“It’s like the flu. It’s like having the flu,” he said.

In December 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the Omicron variant, although causing mild symptoms, could still cause death in immunocompromised people and the elderly. They said such infections could still overwhelm hospitals nationwide.

So far, the Philippines has detected 93 cases of Omicron’s BA.5 subvariant, 43 cases of BA.2.12.1 subvariant and three cases of BA.4.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said local government units that are ready to give the booster can do so when asked if all implementing units can now deploy the supplemental vaccination at the general population.

“It has been stated in our guidelines that all LGUs/vaccination sites that are ready to implement – ​​trained healthcare workers, with appropriate vaccines, etc. – can already implement,” Vergeire said in a message to reporters.

The DOH said teenagers included in the immunocompromised population can receive their booster dose 28 days after the primary series, while those in the general population can receive theirs after five months.

“Medical centers and hospitals will be the ones to schedule their immunocompromised pediatric patients between the ages of 12 and 17 once they are eligible,” he said.

Immunocompromised patients without an attending physician will be coordinated by community health workers and rural health units.

The DOH said teens from the general population can be registered through the LGU’s registration website.

He advised those vaccinated to bring their vaccination record, a document proving the relationship with the child, a valid identity document or documents with photos and a medical certificate for immunocompromised patients.

Children whose parents are overseas may be vaccinated provided the accompanying adult presents a special power of attorney or notarized letter of authorization, an affidavit with presentation of valid government ID and barangay certification.

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