Experts are considering the possibility of extending the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccination drive to children. 

Infectious disease expert Dr. Edsel Salvana said during a Palace press conference that it would be best to follow the government’s prioritization framework until the country has improved its vaccine supply. 

Currently, the priority groups are healthcare workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), persons with comorbidities (A3), frontline personnel in essential sectors (A4), and indigents (A5).

“I think at this point, it’s important to stick to our prioritization program since we know that those under A1, A2, A3 are at the highest risk of dying, followed by the population ages 20 to 59 years old whose baseline risk of dying from COVID can be as high as 1%. If we vaccinate them, it goes down to .1%,” Salvana said.

“Children who are 20 years old and below have a baseline risk of dying of about .1%. Even if we want to get down to .01%, it’s more important to target those who are at higher risk of dying. Once our supply is okay, then we should vaccinate everyone.”

Meanwhile, Molecular biologist Fr. Nicanor Austriaco explained that there is “no immediate need” to give minors Covid-19 vaccines. 

“But personally, if you ask me as a molecular biologist, if given the risk is already so low for a young child, if we had the option of an mRNA vaccine or an attenuated vaccine, I would err on the attenuated vaccine to lower that point one to even lower and minimize any risk long-term for the development of our children,” said Austriaco, a member of independent expert group OCTA Research.

The Department of Health (DOH) along with the experts are still studying the issuance of a recommendation to have minors get jabbed against Covid-19. 

Earlier this month, the Philippines has already approved the use of the Moderna vaccine to children aged 12 to 17 years old. Ronald Espartinez