COVID-19 vaccines

Philippines aims to vaccinate babies, toddlers in 2022

Pia Ranada
Philippines aims to vaccinate babies, toddlers in 2022

VULNERABLE. A mother cuddles her two-month-old baby while accompanying her other children for their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine in Manila. Rappler

But the country's Food and Drug Administration is yet to approve for emergency use any COVID-19 jab for this age group

MANILA, Philippines – Parents in the Philippines may breathe a sigh of relief in 2022 with the government aiming to vaccinate babies and toddlers against COVID-19 this year.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., in a presentation to President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, January 10, said one of the pandemic task force’s 2022 targets is to “vaccinate 11.11 million 0-4 years-old with primary series.”

But it’s important to note that the Philippine Food and Drug Administration is yet to issue emergency use authorization for any vaccine for this young an age group. For the next age group, 5 to 11 years-old, only a Pfizer vaccine has been approved for emergency use in the country.

No country has started vaccinating babies and toddlers against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Pfizer vaccines for 5 to 11-year-olds are set to arrive in the last week of January, reported Galvez. The government has ordered 15 million of these vaccines reformulated for children. Galvez said the government will order 10 million more jabs.

He told Duterte how important it was for the government to issue EUAs for more vaccines for this age group in order to hasten the vaccination drive for them.

Other 2022 targets

There are still around 30 million people in the Philippines who are yet to receive even their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting them to vaccination centers is a critical goal of the government.

Galvez said the goal is to ensure 90 million are vaccinated by June, or in five months. Other goals are to provide 72 million boosters for adults, vaccinate 12.74 million in the 12- to 17-year-old age group and 15.56 million in the 5- to 11 year-old age group.

The country is currently battling a surge in COVID-19 infections, partly driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. On Monday, the country broke its record, tallying over 33,000 new infections. – Rappler.com