A HOUSE lawmaker and a former Health secretary on Tuesday questioned the government on their decision to hold the pilot rollout of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccines to minors in hospitals.  

House Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Janette L. Garin said such an arrangement was made “without any regard to science.”  

“While I understand the need for precautions, common sense would dictate that the hospital setting is not the safest place to be during a pandemic. Doing vaccination in hospitals will expose our teenage children to more viruses and possibly to COVID-19,” she said in a statement.  

The pilot run for inoculating minors aged 12 to 17 with underlying medical conditions started on Oct. 15 in selected hospitals in Metro Manila, including the Philippine General Hospital and the Philippine Heart Center. 

Vaccine chief Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. earlier said the Philippines would have enough vaccine supply to inoculate 12 million children.  

Ms. Garin also said the move to inoculate minors in hospitals will add more burden to frontline health workers who are “already exhausted, overworked, and underpaid.” 

“Were hospitals, who are already overloaded, consulted if they have the capacity and the manpower to do the added work? Were parents given a choice if they want their teenagers to go to hospitals or to community vaccination sites,” she said.  

More than 52 million coronavirus vaccines had been given out as of Oct. 18, with 24.49 million Filipinos having been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the inter-agency task force managing the pandemic. — Russell Louis C. Ku 

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