MANILA - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on Thursday said the Philippines has yet to include teens and children in its COVID-19 vaccination program as the country has yet to get sufficient jabs for more vulnerable sectors.
"Dahil kulang pa ang bakuna at hindi naman sila kabilang sa high-risk na grupo, hindi pa natin sila puwede isama sa ngayon," Duque told state television PTV.
(We cannot include them yet because they are not part of the high-risk group and because we still lack vaccines.)
"Okay naman 'yun pero limitado ang ating vaccine supply sa ngayon so kinakailangan talaga sundin 'yung prioritization formula," he said.
(It's okay to vaccinate them but our vacine supply remains limited so we really have to follow the prioritization formula.)
Since March 2021, the Philippines has been inoculating health frontliners, senior citizens and persons with comorbidities, and is preparing to vaccinate those working in essential sectors.
So far, the Philippines has been using jabs from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac and Sputnik V.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier said it would amend the emergency use authorization (EUA) of Pfizer for its COVID-19 vaccine so it could be used on children aged 12 to 15.
As of May 25, the country has fully vaccinated 1 million people, while 3.46 million have received their first jab.
The government hopes to vaccinate at least 58 million individuals this year to attain herd immunity against the disease, which has infected at least 1.1 million since last year.