San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florida “Rida” P. Robes has appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to prioritize vaccination of children five to 11 years old before they are allowed to go on face-to-face classes.
In her privilege speech Monday, Robes if face-to-face classes at the college level are limited to fully vaccinated students, the same standard of protection should be given to children in kinder and elementary schools.
“Kung ang mga nasa kolehiyo ay pinapagayan lamang nating pumasok ang mga mayroon nang full vaccination status, mas lalo sana nating proteksyonan ang mga mas batang estudyante na hindi pa bakunado,” Robes said.
“Ako po ay isang ina at alam ko ang damdamin sa ating mga anak kapag sila ay pumapasok sa eskwela lalo na ngayong panahon na ito na may naka-ambang virus na maaring nilang makuha sa kanilang pagpasok. Ang mga may pilot run ng face-to-face classes ay mga bata na nasa 5 to 11 age group na hindi pa nabakunahan dahil wala pang bakuna na pinapayagan sa kanilang edad,” Robes said.
She added that as of the moment, no vaccine manufacturer has submitted an Emergency Use Application for children 5 years to 11 years of age.
Food and Drug Administration Director-General Eric Domingo had said the government is still waiting for Pfizer BioNTech to submit an application for EUA for its Covid-19 vaccine for administration to the said age group. Pfizer has been granted by the United States FDA, European Medicines Agency, and other countries EUA for children 5-11 years old.
In a separate interview, Domingo said Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac had expressed its intention to submit an EUA for the said age group after it has collated data on the safety of its Covid-19 vaccine for use among the younger population. Sinovac is being used to inoculate children 5 – 11 years old in China and Indonesia.
Robes said once Pfizer and/or Sinovac submit their applications, the FDA should fast track the study and approval of these vaccines to ensure younger students are protected when they go back to school.
“Kaya ang aking panawagan sa ating FDA na kapag nagsubmit ang mga vaccine manufacturers para sa edad 5 to 11 years ay sana’y madaliin na ang pag-aaral lalo na ang mga vaccines na ginagamit na din sa nasabing age group sa ibang bansa. In the face of this Omicron variant, we owe it to our young children to give them a fighting chance before we allow them to go back to the confines of our educational institutions,” Robes stated.
The Department of Education has allowed over 100 public schools, including 28 in the National Capital Region, to take part in the pilot face-to-face classes. Last week, several Metro Manila public elementary schools have started with their face-to-face classes.
In a separate statement, the Department of Education has announced that it is planning to include 177 more schools all over the country in the limited face-to-face classes this December which will run until January 2022.