Rollout of Covid-19 booster shot for immunocompromised kids starts today

June 22 ------ The government will start providing Covid-19 booster shots to immunocompromised children aged 12 to 17 today, an official of the Department of Health (DOH) said.

The rollout of the program will initially start in select hospitals in Metro Manila. The nationwide roll-out will be “based on the readiness of selected hospital-based vaccination sites,” the DOH said. “Yes for those ready, majority will start on June 23,” said Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje in a text message when asked if the booster vaccination for adolescents will start today. Cabotaje said that a “soft launch” will be held today at the National Children’s Hospital and at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center, both located in Quezon City.

Based on its guidelines, the DOH defined immunocompromised adolescents as:

• Individuals who have been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood.

• Individuals who had received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.

• Individuals who received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicines to suppress the immune system.

• Individuals with moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).

• Individuals with advanced or untreated HIV infection.

• Individuals with active treatment with high-dose corticosteroid or other drugs that may suppress immune response.

• Individuals on chronic dialysis.

• People living with autoimmune disease, and treatment with specific immunosuppressive medications.

• Individuals diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromised state as advised by the attending physician (e.g. severe malnutrition)

The DOH noted that the booster shot for immunocompromised children aged 12 to 17 “shall be given at least 28 days after the administration of the second dose of the primary series.” “For the administration of the additional Covid-19 vaccine dose, 0.3 ml/dose of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-18 vaccine shall be given,” it added. The DOH noted that the recipients should present their primary series vaccination card. A medical certification “given by the attending pediatric/physician detailing the conditions qualified under the definition of the immunocompromised populations shall be secured prior to the vaccination schedule and shall be presented in the registration area in the vaccination site,” the DOH said. “Valid identification cards or documents with a photo of the parent/guardian and vaccine recipient” must also be presented at the vaccination center, the DOH said.