COVID-19 vaccines

Philippines’ FDA approves Pfizer jabs for 5 to 11 year-olds

Philippines’ FDA approves Pfizer jabs for 5 to 11 year-olds

JABS FOR KIDS. The Philippines allows emergency use of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for young kids. Shutterstock

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The Pfizer vaccine is found to have an efficacy rate of over 90% for this age group and caused only mild adverse effects in clinical trials

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be used among 5 to 11 year-olds, announced the agency’s head on Thursday, December 23.

The EUA, however, does not mean that vaccinations for this age group will commence already.

“This EUA is being granted today,” said FDA Director-General Eric Domingo during a Laging Handa virtual press briefing.

Pfizer applied for the EUA in early December. Domingo said vaccine experts who perused the documents submitted by the vaccine developer saw that the anti-COVID-19 jab caused only mild side effects but had high efficacy.

“Its efficacy rate is high, above 90% for kids 5 to 11 years. At the same time, the adverse effects in the clinical trials were only very mild. A bit of a fever, some pain in the area of injection, but no unusual important safety signals were detected,” said Domingo in Filipino.

Different dosage, concentration

The Pfizer vaccines to be administered to 5 to 11-year-olds will have a lower dosage and lower concentration than those given to adults and youths aged 12 to 17, said Domingo.

The implication of this is that the current batch of Pfizer vaccines with the government cannot be used for this age group. The government will have to procure a new batch of jabs that comply with the lower dosage and lower concentration deemed appropriate for young children.

“Last week, we told the Task Force, Secretary [Carlito] Galvez and the DOH Secretary [Francisco] Duque, that it will be a different vaccine for 5 to 11 year-olds. So they will have to order and procure this separately. The present doses we have now are for adults and can be used for 12 to 17 [year-olds],” said the FDA chief.

Because the country currently has no supply of Pfizer vaccines for 5 to 11 year-olds, it is unclear when vaccinations for them can begin.

The country just began vaccinating 12 to 17-year-olds in late October. Booster shot administration was only opened to all adults in the first week of December. – Rappler.com