The vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 will start once local authorities have completed the necessary assessments and safety protocols on the measure, according to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19 chief implementer.
“(The) 5 to 11 age bracket, most likely, it takes time for the assessment and also we will also look at the experience in the United States. Once Pfizer submits the dossier for its approval here, I believe it will take only take a few weeks before the (Philippines) FDA (Food and Drug Administration) can announce its decision. More or less, they might approve it by December,” Galvez told reporters shortly after the arrival of 2.099 million doses of Pfizer vaccine donated by the US, through the COVAX Facility at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 on Sunday night.
He made the remark after the US Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 – the first vaccine brand to get such approval for younger children in the US.
Once approved, Galvez said they will follow the same procedure that was observed in inoculating minors aged 12 to 17.
“We will use same protocol since it gives us a leeway to see for ourselves how we can inoculate it based on sequential manner but now what we have seen in our rollout and we are very happy with the result considering that the result we have accelerated the start of inoculation of (minors) set on November 3 nationwide and the full-scale vaccination is on November 5,” said Galvez.
Galvez also thanked the US government for its latest donation.
“I would like to thank the COVAX Facility, WHO (World Health Organization), and the US government for giving us this another batch of 2.98 million vaccines doses that will benefit more than 1 million people. We would like also to announce that the COVAX will donate more vaccines and we will announce it in proper time but it is a very sizeable amount. We also thank Pfizer and the other manufacturers for providing us the access to the vaccines,” he added.
Heather Variava, US Embassy Manila Chargé d’Affaires, said the donation can help the Philippines quickly recover from the pandemic.
“This brings to more than 20 million the vaccine doses donated by the United States thru COVAX to the Philippines while the total number of the COVAX facility-donated vaccine doses to the Philippines is now about 28 million. I only want to encourage the people of the Philippines to get vaccinated. This way, our economy, and schools will back to normal,” Variava told reporters.
Based on the National Covid-19 Vaccination Dashboard, the Philippines has already administered 59,134,236 doses nationwide.
Of the total, 31.862 million doses were given as first shots and 27.272 million were used as second doses.
Asked if the Philippines can meet its target of full vaccination of 70 percent of the target population by year-end, Galvez said, “We will try to have that target but for now, realistically, we can have more or less 50 to 60 percent.”
Galvez also urged local government units to double their efforts in vaccinating their constituents.