Philippines OKs emergency use of Pfizer COVID-19 jab for 12 to 15 years old

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippines OKs emergency use of Pfizer COVID-19 jab for 12 to 15 years old
A vial of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to be filled into syringes is seen in preparation for vaccinations on the opening day of a large-scale Covid-19 vaccination site at a parking structure at Cal Poly Pomona University in Pomona, California on February 5, 2021.
AFP / Frederic Brown

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals aged 12 to 15 years, the Department of Health said Tuesday. 

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told Philstar.com that the drug regulator has amended the emergency use authorization granted to the Pfizer-BioNTech shot to include individuals 12 years and older in its indication for immunization.

“The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shall be administered only by vaccination providers, and used only to prevent COVID-19 in individuals ages 12 and older,” the amended EUA issued on May 28 read.

The EUA granted to the Pfizer-BioNTech jab in January cleared the vaccine for use only in people aged 16 and up.

The development is seen as a crucial step toward reopening schools, which have been shut down by the pandemic, and can help increase the level of immunity in the population.

However, due to the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, vulnerable sectors such as health workers, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities remain the focus of the government’s inoculation efforts.

“While we welcome more vaccines that are approved for children and adolescents, due to limited vaccine supply, our vaccination strategy remains the same—prioritize the vulnerable and adhere to our prioritization framework,” Vergeire said.

“The general consensus of our vaccine experts is to revisit pediatric and adolescent vaccination once our vaccine supply has stabilized,” she added.

The DOH said Monday it was open to the possibility of using the coronavirus vaccine made by Sinovac Biotech in children and adolescents.

Since the start of the country’s inoculation drive, only 1.5 million people have completed vaccination against COVID-19, while over 4.4 million have received their first dose.


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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 12, 2023 - 2:59pm

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)

April 12, 2023 - 2:59pm

Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire says the general population may now get their second booster jab.

"We're just waiting for the release of implementing guidelines, then we'll start rolling out our second booster for the general population," she says. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

August 23, 2022 - 10:12am

Amid questions on vaccines being administered, the Department of Health assures the public all doses are safe and effective as the “process of extending shelf life goes through thorough stability studies.”

“The government ensures that every vaccine that is injected with an extended shelf life has gone through studies, and is still safe and effective against COVID-19,” it adds.

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

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