FDA: COVID-19 vaccine rollout for children aged 5-11 may start January

Davinci Maru, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 24 2021 11:40 AM | Updated as of Dec 24 2021 11:55 AM

A health worker inspects the blood pressure of children after receiving their second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at the Ospital ng Tondo in Manila on Dec. 4, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
A health worker inspects the blood pressure of children after receiving their second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at the Ospital ng Tondo in Manila on Dec. 4, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—The Philippines may begin administering COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 in January, the Food and Drug Administration said Friday, as the country expands its inoculation coverage amid a still-raging pandemic.

This, after state regulators authorized the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use to protect children from the threat of omicron variant, which is spreading rapidly around the world.

"Ito pong Pfizer na bakuna na 5 to 11, ang plano po ng ating gobyerno gamitin siguro by January," FDA director-general Eric Domingo told TeleRadyo.

(This Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11, the government's plan of using it is maybe in January.)

The government will still have to procure the anti-virus jab for children, in which the dosage is lower than those for adults, he added.

Domingo noted that unvaccinated children were left vulnerable to omicron wherein the risk for infection is higher than other variants.

"Karamihan ng cases ng omicron so far na nakikita sa buong mundo ay mild lamang pero siyempre kapag dumami pa rin 'yung cases ayaw pa rin natin kumalat," he said.

"Ang nakikita rin naman natin mas mabilis siyang makahawa kaysa dun sa delta variant."

(Most omicron cases we've seen globally were mild but of course we don't want it to spread. We've also noticed it spreads faster compared to the delta variant.)

State regulators had already granted an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to children aged over 12.

There are some 13.5 million children aged 5 to 11 in the country, according to the Department of Health. Guidelines for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines for this age group have yet to be released.

As of Dec. 20, the Philippines has administered over 101 million COVID-19 jabs. 

More than 44 million people are fully vaccinated while 56 million others have received the first dose. Meanwhile, some 1.1 million people have also received the booster shots.

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