Gov’t eyes inoculation of 5-11 age group by February: exec

The national government is looking into the administration of vaccines against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) for children aged five to 11 years by early next month, a health official said Friday.

In a Laging Handa briefing, Health Undersecretary and National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) Chair Myrna Cabotaje noted the government is still waiting for the delivery of Pfizer-BioNTech jabs specifically formulated for children.

“Ang tinitingnan nating date, earliest first week of February maumpisahan natin ‘yung pagbabakuna ng ating (We’re looking at the first week of February, earliest, to start with the inoculation of) 5 to 11,” Cabotaje said.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be used among children aged five years to 11 years on Dec. 23, 2021.

The FDA said the jab has a high efficacy rate – above 90 percent – and its adverse events are very mild with no unusual or important safety signals, as shown in the clinical trial.

It added the vaccine comes in different brands – Tozinameran and Comirnaty – depending on its country of origin.

Earlier, the NVOC said there are some 13.5 million children aged 5 to 11 nationwide.

As for the report about a six-month-old who received a Covid-19 vaccine instead of a pneumonia shot, Cabotaje said authorities will continue to monitor the child who has not experienced any adverse reaction.

She added the incident will be investigated thoroughly so the proper sanction can be decided upon.

“Kung gross negligence ‘yan o may ibang factors. Kailangan pag-ibayuhin natin ang ating practices, iba dapat ang [refrigerator] ng Covid-19 vaccines sa (If it’s gross negligence or other factors. We need to improve our practices, the refrigerator of Covid-19 vaccines must be different from that for) regular vaccines,” Cabotaje said.

She also reminded the implementers to provide vaccines with labels big enough for them to be distinguished from each other to avoid confusion.

So far, the government has fully vaccinated some 51.7 million individuals.

About 57.4 million have received their first dose and 2.8 million have received booster shots.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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