FDA says COVID-19 vaccines for younger children may be approved before year-end

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2021 02:26 PM | Updated as of Nov 23 2021 03:13 PM

Kids pose for photos with
Kids pose for photos with "Santa Claus" at a mall in Taytay, Rizal on Sunday. Children are allowed to go out and visit malls in areas placed under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 according to the latest guideline released by the Inter-Agency Task Force. ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Philippine drug regulator said on Tuesday it might authorize COVID-19 vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds before the year ends. 

The Food and Drug Administration expects Pfizer to seek an emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine for this age group "very soon", said FDA chief Eric Domingo. 

"They already asked for the list of requirements and they told us that they are completing the requirements. Meron lang kasi atang difference kaunti doon sa formulation ng vaccine for children, so it's like a new EUA kasi medyo may bagong innovation doon sa product," he said in a press briefing. 

(There just appears to be a slight difference in the formation of the vaccine for children, so it's like a new EUA because there is a bit of new innovation in the product.) 

Domingo said the FDA also hopes "to get soon" Chinese drug maker Sinovac's data on its vaccine for minors. 

"Iyon 'yong 2 possible vaccine natin for children below 12," he said. 

(Those are our 2 possible vaccines for children below 12.) 

"I believe before the end of the year we will have vaccines for children below 12," added the official. 

The Philippines in mid-October started inoculating 12- to 17-year-olds against the novel coronavirus. 

Adverse effects among children are "very, very low" at less than 1 percent. Most of these were mild, with allergies and hyperventilation as the most severe side effects recorded, Domingo said. 

"So far, so good, and we're still continuing with that," he said of the pediatric vaccination. 

Overall, the Philippines has fully vaccinated some 33.8 million people or 43.88 percent of its target population, said Palace acting spokesman Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

Authorities recently authorized booster doses for health workers, immunocompromised individuals, and senior citizens. 

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Video courtesy of PTV