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DOH: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine now approved for individuals aged 12 and above

The Philippines has expanded its emergency use authorization (EUA) of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to cover individuals aged 12 and above, the Department of Health (DOH) said Tuesday.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire confirmed to GMA News Online that the Pfizer shot is “now indicated for [use on] 12 years old and above.”

“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 added.

A report by Super Radyo dzBB's Isa Avendano-Umali said the Food and Drug Administration has amended the EUA it granted for Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine to cover those aged 12 to 15 years old.  

A copy of the Pfizer EUA on the FDA website indicates that the amendment to include minors was issued on May 28.  Initially, the Pfizer jab was only approved for use on individuals aged 16 and above

FDA director general Eric Domingo previously said experts gave “very favorable” recommendations on the use of the Pfizer vaccine on minors. 

In March, the American pharmaceutical giant said its vaccine showed 100% efficacy against COVID-19 among adolescents aged 12 to 15. 

Malacañang said Filipino teens can get a Pfizer jab once more supplies come in. The Philippines expects up to 40 million doses from the company this year.  

Earlier on Tuesday, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said the vaccination of children and teenagers against COVID-19 could begin in the fourth quarter of 2021. 

“Nakikita po namin baka fourth quarter po [magsimula] kasi doon po dadagsa, may makukuha po tayo na mga Pfizer, Sinovac, at ‘yung Moderna (We expect the vaccination of minors to start in the fourth quarter because that’s when we’ll get the bulk of Pfizer, Sinovac, and Moderna shipments),” he said.

Aside from the Pfizer vaccine, the COVID-19 jabs developed by Chinese firm Sinovac and American drugmaker Moderna have also been found to be effective in children. 

Over 4.4 million Filipino have been vaccinated as of June 6, still far from the government’s target of inoculating 58 million people in COVID-19 hotspots by November.    —KBK, GMA News