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More Covid-19 vaccines are needed in PH to cover ‘pediatric vaccination.’

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the Philippines’ vaccine czar, warned on Monday that the nation needs additional coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccinations, especially if minors and children are to be vaccinated.

Galvez, who is also the lead implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19, said the government is in discussion with pharmaceutical firms to expand the country’s vaccine supply from 158 million to 202 million doses, including vaccinations from the WHO-led COVAX facility.

“So ang implication na kapag magkaroon tayo ng opening ng (the implication if we have the opening of) pediatric vaccination is that it will increase our demand for vaccines,” Galvez said after the symbolic vaccination of essential workers under the A4 category in Pasay City during a press conference with Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

He said that the country need additional Covid-19 vaccines for children’s vaccination.

Based on preliminary data submitted to Chinese drug authorities, China’s Sinovac business says their Covid-19 vaccination is safe for children aged 3 to 17.

“Recently, Sinovac issued a statement that they are now permitting iyong (the vaccination of) 2 years and 17 years old in China,” Galvez stated.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is also approved for use in children as young as 15 years old, and it is now being investigated in children aged 12 to 16.

Sinopharm is researching the efficacy of its coronavirus vaccines in youngsters.

Moderna Pharmaceuticals is also researching the use of its vaccine in children aged 12 and above, and published this week the results of a second trial including youngsters under the age of 12.

“So, ang nakikita namin dito, mayroon tayong tinatawag na pediatric immunization, may 39 million po tayo na population diyan,” Galvez said. “We need to get additional vaccinations, around 60 million,” says the doctor.

For his part, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said that the government would rigorously adhere to the World Health Organization’s prioritizing list for the Covid-19 vaccine campaign.

“We applaud Sinovac’s decision to broaden the indication for Sinovac vaccinations to cover children aged 12 to 15,” Duque stated.

Duque, on the other hand, said that the vaccine rollout’s prioritizing mechanism would be maintained.

“Once the vaccinations come and are adequate to cover even this age range, which Sinovac has added as one of the indications from 12 to 15, we will continue to follow the prioritized system.” From 12 to 17, Pfizer is working. All of this is a positive development. He said, “Basta iyong priority sunod pa rin tayo (We will continue to stick to the prioritizing).”

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