Public Health eyes ‘phased’ approach for kids’ vaccination

(Dr. Robert 'Bob' Leon Guerrero)

The Department of Public Health and Social Services is looking at a “phased approach” in the imminent COVID vaccination of the five to 11-year-old age group in order to make the program more manageable and to prioritize those who need the vaccine the most.

“We want to start looking at maybe phasing it in. We want to start maybe with those 10 to 11-year-olds, and then work our way down so that we can do it in a coordinated manner and reach all the individuals,” DPHSS COVID-19 Epidemiology/Surveillance Branch Lead and Bureau of Communicable Disease Control Administrator Annette Aguon said during a media briefing Thursday.

According to Aguon, there are only 7,500 doses of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine coming to Guam under their initial order and that will not be enough because the kids will need two doses, just like the adults.

“And that’s another reason why we want to do phased in. Then, as we are allocated more vaccines, we could continue with this five to 11-year-old campaign and close the gap. This is what we would call cocooning, similar to what we would do for the influenza vaccine and the Pertussis vaccine which immunize those who can get the vaccine to protect those who can’t,” Aguon said.

Dr. Robert Leon Guerrero, Interim Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Public Health and Social Services, confirmed that initially, Guam will only get 7,500 doses of the pediatric vaccine.

“We’re only going to get 7500 and that’s the max that we can order. So obviously we can’t vaccinate everybody. So we want to hit groups that are at risk, and that’s the 10 to 11-year-olds. And obviously, also the kids who have underlying health issues. We want to hit them first. And then, when we get more vaccines, we can lower the age limit until we get the five and six-year-olds,” the doctor said.