The Philippines will start a pilot vaccine rollout for children aged five to 11 on Feb. 4, the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 has announced.

Vaccine czar and NTF Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. said the vaccine supply for the inoculation of the age group was expected to arrive within the last week of January.

“Iyong ating memorandum guidance ay lalabas po ngayong week at ‘yung ating town hall meetings na pamumunuan po ng DOH (Department of Health) and series of trainings ay tuloy-tuloy ngayong week, from Jan. 24 to 28,” Galvez said.

“Kasama po dito ang capacity-building ng vaccination teams, ‘yung town halls to the public, vaccination site preparation, at saka po ‘yung vaccine site final inspection na gaganapin po hanggang Jan. 25 hanggang Jan. 31,” he added.

The government had been eyeing to expand vaccination to younger age groups to help the country achieve herd immunity.

So far, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration for kids aged five to 11.

The government is also planning to open the vaccination of zero- to four-year-olds later this year.

Galvez earlier said that 26 million more vaccine doses were needed to cover the vaccination of the country’s young population. John Ezekiel J. Hirro