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DOH: Applications for use of COVID-19 vaccines on children aged 0-4 pending before FDA

Applications for the issuance of emergency use authorization on COVID-19 vaccines for children aged zero to four years old are pending before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Health said Monday.

DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire made the response when asked by Iloilo Representative Lorenz Defensor if the DOH is considering to administer COVID-19 vaccines on children aged zero to four years old given that two American-made vaccine brands being used in the country under EUA, Pfizer and Moderna, are being used in children below five years old in the US.

"We still don't have any recommendations on COVID-19 vaccines for children less than five years old. But the HTAC on this [topic] is already ongoing," Vergeire said, referring to the Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC).

"Applications for [EUA] for COVID-19 vaccines on children zero to four are also pending in the FDA," she added.

Defensor then called on the DOH to decide in favor of vaccinating children under five years old against COVID-19, given that children of the said age group account for more than 2% of those infected with COVID-19 globally and the recent resumption of face-to-face classes.

"Pfizer and Moderna have been allowed by the [US] FDA  and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) for children aged six months and above. I am asking to expedite your policy on this because schools are reopening and [the] mask policy is being relaxed," Defensor said.

"We have children...we don't want our children to be infected, especially now that health protocols are being relaxed," Defensor added.

Based on DOH records, there are 93,054 children under five years old who got infected with COVID-19. That figure is 2.39% of all the country's COVID-19 cases so far.

At least 72 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, but only 18 million of these got booster shot.

COVID-19 vaccination in the Philippines is not mandatory and only covers those aged five and above. — RSJ, GMA News