Metro Manila — The country’s Food and Drug Administration has approved the emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines for minors aged 12 to 15. But the Department of Health said on Tuesday that they will not yet be vaccinated.
“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,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a statement.
The amended emergency use authorization posted on the FDA website on May 28 states the vaccines made by Pfizer can be used on young people 12 years old and above. The previous EUA only allowed its use for those aged 16 and up.
The development comes after the US Food and Drug Administration also expanded its EUA for Pfizer’s vaccine to include those aged 12 to 15 years old.
The Philippines has received only 193,000 Pfizer doses — a donation from the global COVAX facility. An additional 2.2 million doses are slated to arrive in the country on June 11.
DOH said the prioritization framework of protecting the most vulnerable sectors will remain despite the amendment in the emergency use guidelines. Vergeire said the general consensus of vaccine experts is to revisit pediatric and adolescent vaccination once the country’s vaccine supply has stabilized.
While children and adults experience similar COVID-19 symptoms, children generally have less serious illness, the World Health Organization.
Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said 60 million doses are needed to vaccinate the pediatric population.