Photo used for illustrative purpose.
The Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the application for the emergency use authorisation (EUA) of the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 in a major move to expand population protection from the coronavirus especially, the threat posed by the virulent Omicron variant.
Eric Domingo, the FDA chief, on Thursday confirmed the approval, making the Pfizer product the first vaccine to be authorised and administered to children in this age category in the Philippines.
“Upon review of technical documents and evaluation of the US FDA recommendations, our expert found the data submitted as sufficient for EUA approval,” Domingo told a media briefing in a mix of Filipino and English.
“We observed it is reasonable to believe that the vaccine,” Domingo added, “may be effective to prevent COVID-19 and the benefits of vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.”
He added that Pfizer has a 90 per cent efficacy for children aged 5 to 11. In its application for EUA, Pfizer also pointed out its vaccine generated a “robust” antibody response for children.
Officials have yet to announce the number of Filipino children who are to be administered the Pfizer jabs. But in its earlier inoculation programme for children from 12 to 17 years old launched in October, the government estimated the number of Pfizer beneficiaries to be similar or more than the 10 million minors who already received their COVID-19 vaccine jabs.
The government tightened restrictions in Manila and several provinces and cities this week. Unvaccinated people among the capital's 13 million people were ordered to stay home, after infection numbers tripled in the last two days.
European Medicines Agency director Emer Cooke said the watchdog could not definitively rule out a link between blood clot incidents and the vaccine in its investigation into 30 cases of a rare blood clotting condition.
The ministry added that over 4-6 weeks the vaccine rollout will be focused on elderly people and those with chronic diseases who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
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