MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health said Monday it was open to the possibility of using the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech in children and adolescents.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said local experts will study the use of CoronaVac in younger groups once the Chinese drugmaker submits an amendment to its emergency use authorization.
“If they have complete evidence, have finished their trial and they submit a revision in their EUA in the country, our experts will study it,” Vergeire said in a briefing.
“If it’s proven safe and if it’s going to protect our children, of course the Philippines will be open to this,” she added.
The EUA granted to the Sinovac jab in February allowed its use for clinically healthy aged 18 to 59 years. In April, the country’s Food and Drug Administration approved the recommendation to expand the use of the vaccine in senior citizens as the country faced a surge in COVID-19 infection.
Last week, China approved the emergency use of CoronaVac in people aged between three and 17.
The World Health Organization recently gave a greenlight to Sinovac's two-dose CoronaVac. The WHO's emergency use listing gives countries assurance that the vaccine has met international standards.
American pharmaceutical firm previously applied for an amendment to its EUA to include 12 to 15-years old, the head of the country’s FDA said last month.
Since the country began its inoculation efforts in March, only 1.5 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Meanwhile, over 4.4 million have received their first dose.
The Philippines launched Monday the vaccination of the working population against COVID-19. About 35 million Filipinos belong to the fourth priority group.
The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.
Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)
The government marks the rollout of vaccines for the A4, or economic frontliners, category with a ceremony at a mall in Pasay City.
Around 35 million Filipinos are in the priority group, which has been expanded to include all who are required to physically report to work.
Pandemic restrictions have seen some Filipinos shift to remote work or work-from-home arrangements but many employees, especially those in the service sector, do not have that option.
Vice President Leni Robredo has been vaccinated against COVID-19 at a vaccination center in Quezon City.
Robredo, who received her first dose of the AstraZeneca jab, is in the A3 ( people with comorbidities) category.
The Department of Health announces the resumption of the use of AstraZeneca jab for all eligible population following the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration and the DOH All Experts Group on Vaccines.
The health department urges the public to get their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
"The benefits of additional protection against COVID-19 could only be achieved by completing both doses of the vaccine," the DOH says in a statement.
The regional health minister of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said there is no basis for insinuations that COVID-19 vaccines are forbidden in Islam.
Medical workers from the Integrated Provincial Health Office-Maguindanao gave Bangsamoro Health Minister Bashary Latiph a Sinovac anti-coronavirus jab Thursday.
Latiph reiterated his appeal to residents in all cities and provinces in BARMM to ignore fallacies and assertions on Facebook by skeptics and pessimists who are not even medical practitioners that vaccines can do more harm than good.
“Listen only to BARMM’s Health Ministry, to the Department of Health and to health workers in provinces and in cities in the Bangsamoro region,” Latiph told reporters after he got an anti-COVID-19 shot. — The STAR/John Unson
The Philippines approves the application of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use.
Food and Drug Administration Director general Eric Domingo says it only took nine days to review the emergency use authority application.
"The known and potential benefits of Moderna, when used to prevent COVID-19, outweigh the known and potential risks of the said vaccine," Domingo says during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.
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