Philippines OKs emergency use of Sinovac jab for kids 6 and up

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippines OKs emergency use of Sinovac jab for kids 6 and up
A boy gestures beside a performer dressed as superhero character Ironman before receiving the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 at a gym in San Juan City, suburban Manila on February 7, 2022.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s Food and Drug Administration has allowed the emergency use of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Chinese firm Sinovac for children aged six and above, a health official said Tuesday.

Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje, who chairs the National Vaccination Operations Center, said that Sinovac’s CoronaVac was granted emergency use authorization last March 11.

It is the second vaccine allowed for use for the age group, in addition to the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.

According to Cabotaje, the department and experts are already working on the implementing guidelines.

“Titignan nating mabuti kasi ang nasa EUA ng Sinovac ay for healthy individuals, healthy children so baka hindi kasama ‘yung with comorbidities. ‘Yun ang pinag-uusapan, fina-finalize natin ‘yung guidelines together with our experts,” she said.

(We will study it closely because the EUA for Sinovac indicates it is authorities for use for healthy individuals, healthy children so those with comorbidities may not be included. We’re discussing that. We’re finalizing the guidelines together with our experts.)

The health official added the government will use the existing CoronaVac formulation given to adults.

“We don’t need to buy additional Sinovac [vaccines], we have enough in stock,” Cabotaje said.

CoronaVac is also being used by countries such as China, Hong Kong and Indonesia for their pediatric population.

Over 64.5 million Filipinos have completed vaccination against COVID-19 since March 2021. Meanwhile, 11.1 million people have received boosters.

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It advises residents that first, second dose and first and 2nd booster shots are available on a first come, first serve basis in its designated vaccination sites. 

Among the available vaccine brands is Sinovac for 6 years old and above. It adds that there are no Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines yet for residents age 12 and above.

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