Ex-DOH chief opposes pediatric vaccination in hospitals

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 20) — Former Health Secretary Janette Garin has raised concern on the COVID-19 vaccination of minors in hospitals, days after its pilot rollout in select areas.

"The hospitals, as we have known, is one of the main petri dishes of COVID-19 transmission. Ibig sabihin doon maraming nagkakahawaan (It means many people get infected there)," the Iloilo lawmaker told CNN Philippines' The Source on Wednesday.

"I don't see the logic why we have to unnecessarily expose our teenagers, especially those with comorbidities, in that setting," she said, citing the lack of ventilation and the probability of "overloading" the hospitals.

Garin noted that vaccinating minors in hospitals also exposes them to pathogens that might harm their immune system.

"We are changing the dictum that hospitals are for curative care, and health centers, vaccination centers and clinics are for preventive and promotive healthcare where vaccination actually falls," she added.

The vaccination of minors aged 12 to 17 with comorbidities started on Oct. 15 in some hospitals in Metro Manila, including the Philippine General Hospital and the Philippine Heart Center.

The Department of Health said 1,509 minors were vaccinated against COVID-19 on Monday. Of this number, at least four reportedly experienced mild side effects such as high blood pressure, allergic reaction, and stress-related reactions.

READ: Only 4 out of 1,509 minors vaccinated vs COVID-19 had mild side effects – DOH