MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 to 11, the Department of Health said Tuesday.
The regulatory body amended the emergency use authorization for Moderna's coronavirus jab to include the said age group on May 20, according to the DOH.
The Health Technology Assessment Council must give a positive recommendation before the vaccine can be rolled out, said Dr. Beverly Ho, director of the DOH Health Promotion bureau.
Two doses of Moderna's Spikevax vaccine elicit "strong immune response" for children ages 6 to 12, said its Philippine distributor Zuellig Pharma Corporation in a statement Monday. The safety and efficacy of the vaccine are similar to those in adults, it added.
“The Spikevax COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna boosts opportunities in ensuring more children are protected against the virus,” said Dr. Philip Nakpil, medical director of Zuellig Pharma Corporation.
The dosage for children is 50 micrograms or half of those used for adults, according to Dr. Rontgene Solante, infectious disease expert and member of government's vaccine expert panel.
"It was able to attain safety, meaning walang nakikitang adverse effect na life threatening at 'yung immunogenicity…99 percent elicited an antibody response na kagaya nung na-elicit ng 18-25 years old," he said in a televised briefing Wednesday.
(It was able to attain safety, meaning there was no life threatening adverse effect and the immunogenicity…99 percent elicited an antibody response the same as 18 to 25 years old.)
"Itong mga 6 to 11 are also as vulnerable as that with the adult... Medyo di pa hinog ang mga immune system nito, madali talaga silang makapitan ng COVID-19. The fact na gusto na natin mag-face to face sa mga paaralan then being vaccinated is another layer of protection na mas prepared sa face-to-face education."
(These 6 to 11 are also as vulnerable as that with the adult. These children's immune system is not yet developed, making them more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. The fact is we want face-to-face classes, then being vaccinated is another layer of protection that will prepare them for face-to-face education.)
The FDA earlier approved the use of Pfizer's reformulated jab for children ages 5 to 11, and Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine for ages 6 and up.
The Philippines has yet to approve COVID-19 booster shots for children, according to Ho.
In the meantime, parents are reminded to get their children protected against vaccine-preventable diseases through routine immunization, Ho said. Another round of the "Chikiting Bakunation" is set on June 30 and July 1, she added.
More than 750,000 children and infants have received their catch-up vaccines as of Tuesday, Ho said.