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Philippines to allow Pfizer COVID-19 jab for emergency use in 12 to 15-year-olds

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippines to allow Pfizer COVID-19 jab for emergency use in 12 to 15-year-olds
A nurse shows an empty vial of the Pfizer Biontech vaccine Comirnaty at the vaccination center of German speciality chemicals company Evonik in Hanau, western Germany, on Mai 19, 2021, amid the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
AFP / Thomas Lohnes

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is set to allow the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years, the head of the country’s drug regulatory agency said.

The move is seen as a crucial step in expanding the number of people in the country who will be protected against COVID-19.

Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo said the agency will issue an amendment to the emergency use authorization granted to the Pfizer-BioNTech jab in January. The EUA cleared the vaccine for use only in people aged 16 and up.

“Early this evening, I already got the recommendation of our experts and it’s very favorable,” Domingo said during a televised meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday.

“So within the week, we will be issuing an amendment to the emergency use authorization of Pfizer and we will be able to use it in children, 12 to 15-year-olds,” he added.

The drugmaker applied for amendment to its EUA on May 20. Earlier this month, the United States FDA authorized the use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in adolescents. 

But the local FDA’s approval is not the final hurdle to vaccinating 12 to 15-year-olds with Pfizer.

The Philippines only received its initial supply of Pfizer-BioNTech jabs through the COVAX facility on May 10 after months of delay. Around 2.2 million donated Pfizer doses are expected to arrive in June.

The government has yet to sign a deal with Pfizer to purchase 40 million vaccine doses.

The change in the EUA could remove an obstacle to reopening schools, which have been shut down by the pandemic. Rolling out Pfizer, however, remains a challenge as it needs to be kept in sub-arctic temperatures, a requirement that is not present in majority of the country’s cold storage infrastructure.

A survey of the Social Weather Stations found the jabs developed by Sinovac and Pfizer were the most preferred brands of Filipinos.

COVID-19 VACCINES NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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