By: Nehmia Elyxa Relano 

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin

National Vaccine Operations Center (NVOC) chairperson on Tuesday said the government must vaccinate children below 18 years old if it wants to reach its target of vaccinating 80 percent of the population to protect more individuals from the COVID-19 Delta variant. 

Currently, the government is aiming to vaccinate 70 percent of the country's population, or roughly 70 million Filipinos, in order to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19. 

However, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje claims that a “looming proposal” to improve vaccine coverage to 80 percent is in the works.

“With the Delta variant, there is a looming proposal na kailangan taasan pa ang vaccination coverage to 80 percent, so that will mean i-include na natin ang below 18 years old,” Cabotaje stated in an online media briefing.

According to Cabotaje, the 70 million vaccination recipients targets already include individuals aged 18 and up.

Cabotaje said that they are also looking into whether youngsters under the age of 18 should be vaccinated at the same time as the broader public.

Vaccination for the entire public could begin in September or October, according to the health official.

"It will all come from studies abroad and our own studies kung kailan magpabakuna ang bata (on when children can be vaccinated) and if we should wait for the general population to be vaccinated before the adolescents. In the next coming months masasagot na ang mga katanungan na ‘yan (these questions will be answered) with data coming in,” she added.