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Philippines open to study use of Sinovac jab for kids, adolescents

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippines open to study use of Sinovac jab for kids, adolescents
In this file photo taken on February 23, 2021, vials of the CoronaVac vaccine, developed by China's Sinovac firm, are displayed in Bangkok, as the first batch of vaccines to battle the Covid-19 coronavirus arrive in the kingdom.
AFP / Lillian Suwanrumpha

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health said Monday it was open to the possibility of using the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech in children and adolescents.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said local experts will study the use of CoronaVac in younger groups once the Chinese drugmaker submits an amendment to its emergency use authorization.

“If they have complete evidence, have finished their trial and they submit a revision in their EUA in the country, our experts will study it,” Vergeire said in a briefing.

“If it’s proven safe and if it’s going to protect our children, of course the Philippines will be open to this,” she added.

The EUA granted to the Sinovac jab in February allowed its use for clinically healthy individuals aged 18 to 59 years. In April, the country’s Food and Drug Administration approved the recommendation to expand the use of the vaccine in senior citizens as the country faced a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Last week, China approved the emergency use of CoronaVac in people aged between three and 17.

The World Health Organization recently gave a greenlight to Sinovac's two-dose CoronaVac. The WHO's emergency use listing gives countries assurance that the vaccine has met international standards. 

American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer previously applied for an amendment to its EUA to include 12 to 15-years old, the head of the country’s FDA said last month.

Since the country began its inoculation efforts in March, only 1.5 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Meanwhile, over 4.4 million have received their first dose.

The Philippines launched Monday the vaccination of the working population against COVID-19. About 35 million Filipinos belong to the fourth priority group. 

COVID-19 VACCINES

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 4, 2022 - 9:06am

The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.

Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

January 4, 2022 - 9:06am

Government must increase vaccination capacity across the Philippines in anticipation of a surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant of the corona virus, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says.

She says local government units and the private sector can work together to put up more vaccination centers and deploy more vaccination teams to get more people inoculated against COVID-19.

"The active COVID cases have nearly doubled in three days. The positivity rate is almost four times the ceiling set by the World Health Organization. Huwag na nating hintayin na sobrang lumala pa ang sitwasyon bago tayo gumawa ng paraan para mapabilis ang ating pagbabakuna."

December 23, 2021 - 11:44am

FDA chief Eric Domingo says that its agency has given emergency approval for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

November 11, 2021 - 7:30am

The United States immunized around 900,000 children aged five-to-11 against Covid in the first week the Pfizer vaccine was authorized for them, a White House official says Wednesday.

Roughly 700,000 more have made appointments at pharmacies, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients tells reporters.

"The program is just getting up to full strength," he says, adding most of the shots were given in the last couple of days alone. — AFP

November 8, 2021 - 7:56pm

The Philippines has received 2.8 million doses of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines from Russia.

The shipment arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Monday night and was met by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

November 7, 2021 - 11:57am

A Department of the Interior and Local Government proposal to require Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries to get vaccinated before cash transfers to them can be released will not help the poor, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says.

"Walang kundisyon sa 4Ps law na kailangang COVID-19 vaccinated ang recipients kaya dapat igalang at irespeto ng ating mga opisyal ang desisyon ng sinuman ukol sa pagbabakuna," she says. 

(The 4Ps Law does not include the condition that recipients must be vaccinated against COVID-19 so the government must respect people's decision to get vaccinated or not)

She says it would be better for government agencues like the social welfare and health departments to encourage 4Ps beneficiaries to get vaccinated but not as a condition to receive cash aid.

Hontiveros says encouragement and explanations have helped address vaccine hesitancy in Metro Manila.

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