Press Release| February 16, 2022.

The Department of Health Eastern Visayas Center for Health Development, thru the Regional COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center, commenced its implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5-11 on February 14, 2022 at the Eastern Visayas Medical Center.

Dr. Salvador Evardone, EVMC Chief, welcomed the guests and participants to the launching program highlighting this milestone for the region’s vaccination campaigns. Regional Directors and representatives of other partner agencies showed their support to reinforce the vaccination drive for the said age group. Dir. Evelyn R. Fetalvero of DepEd RO8, Dir. Lord Byron Torrecarion, as represented by his Chief Operations Officer, of OCD RO8, SUPT. Joelito S. Sabandal, Deputy Regional Director for Operations of the BFP, COL. Carmelito Pangatungan, Deputy Brigade Commander 801 Brigade 8ID of the AFP, and PBGEN. Joel B. Limson, Deputy Regional Director for Administration of the PNPRO8 were present to embody the whole-of-government approach towards the vaccination activity. Dr. Teresita Gerlia Narciso, President of the Philippine Pediatric Society RO8, Dr. Rodolfo Antonio M. Albornoz, DOH EVCHD Assistant Regional Director, officials and staff of the EVMC, DOH EVCHD, DepEd, OCD, PNP, BFP, and media partners also attended the launching activity. Also, the PIA, DICT, DTI, and other RVOC member-agencies also extended their support to the success of the vaccination activity.

Different provinces and Local Government Units in the region have also manifested their support to this roll-out. Child-friendly vaccination venues decorated with colorful balloons where children received snacks and goodies after getting vaccinated were some strategies posted by health care workers and LGUs to give the kids a fun experience while getting the protection they need. The children who participated were accompanied by their parents, and authorized guardians where necessary consent forms were processed along the vaccination steps.

In the pursuit to strengthen community protection and vaccinate the region’s total population, a total of 735,631 children belonging to this age group are set to receive their jabs for additional protection against COVID-19.

Dr. Exuperia B. Sabalberino, Regional Director of the DOH EVCHD, stressed the importance of pushing for all children 5-11 yrs old to get immunized as “we need to protect these children because they are the future of our country. We cannot reach the future of our country if we do not protect them now,” adding that “it rests on our shoulders to protect all these children, especially those with comorbidities.”

Following the initial implementation of the roll-out in pilot areas of the country, it is critical and urgent to have these children vaccinated against COVID-19. Based on recent data, 69% of those who got infected in the latest Omicron surge in the region were children 0-11 yrs old. Although COVID-19 is less severe in children than in adults, it could still result in hospitalization. Giving them an additional layer of protection will help prevent such situations.

“We enjoin everyone to support and cooperate, and join hands as we all together do the immunization for all children 5-11 yrs old in the region,” RD Sabalberino said as she encourages the public to be part of this vaccination roll-out in order to protect the children, their families, and the community. Bida ang bata sa Resbakuna!