MANILA - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for minors as young as 12 years old, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.
The FDA issued the amendment to Pfizer's emergency use authorization in a document dated May 28, 2021.
The new authorization allows the national government to use the jabs from the American pharmaceutical giant "for the active immunization for the prevention of COVID-19 cause by SARS-C0V-2 in individuals 12 years of age and older," the document read.
"After careful consideration of the application, with all its supporting documents, and a review of local experts, the FDA has been satisfied that all the conditions for the issuance of an EUA exist," it read.
Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine first secured an EUA from the Philippine FDA in January.
While the Pfizer jabs have been approved for minors, this age group has yet to be a priority in the Philippines' vaccination program, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
"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," she said.
"The general consensus of our vaccine experts is to revisit pediatric and adolescent vaccination once our vaccine supply has stabilized," she said.
Pfizer applied to amend the emergency use authority granted to its COVID-19 vaccine last May 20, FDA Director General Eric Domingo said in an earlier interview.
"'Yung Pfizer, ito 'yung pinakauna po natin na binigyan ng EUA na vaccine," he said.
"They applied for amendment to include 12 to 15-year-olds doon sa puwedeng gamitan ng bakuna," he said.
(Pfizer, the first vaccine which we issued an EUA for applied for an amendment to include 12 to 15-year-olds among those who can be inoculated with their vaccine.)
Aside from Pfizer, Moderna is also planning to apply for a permit for its child-friendly COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the year, Dr. Nina Gloriani, head of the DOST's vaccine expert panel, said in an earlier interview.
"We look forward to that kasi maa-address niya 'yung pagbabakuna sa isang age group na hindi natin makakaya with the other vaccines," she said.
(We look forward to that because that can address the vaccination of an age group that cannot be inoculated with the other vaccines.)
The DOH earlier said it has been studying the efficacy of child-friendly COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved in the United States and other countries earlier this year.
Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE began testing their COVID-19 vaccine in children under 12 in March, which will include children as young as 6 months.