PH approves use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on 12-15 years old

Robie de Guzman   •   June 8, 2021   •   145

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to cover individuals as young as 12 years old, the Department of Health (DOH) announced on Tuesday.

In a message to reporters, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that the FDA has approved the use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on minors aged 12 and above.

Pfizer’s initial EUA states that its COVID-19 vaccine may only be administered to 16 years old and above.

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 and adhere to our prioritization framework,” Vergeire said.

The general consensus of our vaccine experts is to revisit pediatric and adolescent vaccination once our vaccine supply has stabilized,” she added.

Vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said that the national government is looking to include minors aged 12 to 17 in the government’s vaccination program once more vaccine supply comes in.

The Philippines has so far administered more than 5.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses since the vaccination program started in March.

The national government is currently vaccinating individuals belonging to the priority sectors of healthcare workers, senior citizens, persons with underlying medical condition, and essential workers. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

PH to receive 1.5 million more Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine doses on June 17

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines will receive on Thursday, June 17, some 1.5 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Chinese drug firm Sinovac Biotech, the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 said.

In a media advisory, the NTF said the shipment will be carried by a Cebu Pacific flight, which is expected to arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 at 7:30 a.m.

The incoming vaccine doses will be the third batch of Sinovac shots to be delivered to the Philippines in June.

The vaccines will then be transported to the cold storage facility of Pharmaserv Express, Inc. in Marikina City where they will be preserved prior to distribution to local government units.

Once delivered, the country’s vaccine supply will increase to more than 14 million doses.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said that around six million more vaccine doses are expected to arrive in the remaining days of June.

Senior citizens vaccinated vs COVID-19 should still avoid public places: DOH exec

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Elderly people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should still avoid going to public places as they remain vulnerable to contracting the viral disease, a health official said Wednesday.

During the Laging Handa public briefing, Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said vulnerable groups, including senior citizens, should still stay at home because only a small part of the country’s population has been vaccinated.

“Ang bakuna can prevent hospitalization and death pero puwede ka pa rin magkaroon ng COVID-19,” he said.

“So kailangan, lalo na kung vulnerable kayo, dapat wag muna magsilabas, lalo na ang mga seniors kasi ang population natin konti pa ang nabakunahan,” he added.

Vega said senior citizens who have completed their vaccination doses should only go to public places when at least 50 percent of the community has been vaccinated.

“That would lessen the transmission of the virus to the vulnerable group,” he said.

When going outdoors, elderly people should follow public health protocols such as wearing of face mask and observing physical distancing. They should also avoid staying in places that are not well ventilated.

“Alam naman nila kung paano nata-transmit yung virus, dapat kung sa indoor sila, pwede silang lumabas as long as they are [following] minimum public health standards. Iwasan po nila yung crowd gatherings, iwasan nila ang pagkain sa loob ng institutions na hindi maganda ang ventilation,” Vega said.

The government has been vaccinating priority groups, including healthcare workers (A1), senior citizens (A2), persons with co-morbidities (A3), and essential workers (A4), since it rolled out its COVID-19 immunization program in March.

As of June 13, the Philippines has administered a total of 6,948,549 COVID-19 vaccine doses. Of this, 5,068,855 are first doses, and 1,879,694 are second doses.

Around 479,034 senior citizens have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

The government is urging eligible populations belonging to priority groups A1 to A4 to register, get vaccinated and complete the required number of doses as scheduled.

It also advised the vaccinated population to continue practicing the minimum public health standards as they may still get infected with COVID-19 and infect other people.

Philippines posts 5,414 new COVID-19 cases; deaths breach 23K mark

Robie de Guzman   •   June 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines on Wednesday recorded 5,414 new novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, bringing the nationwide tally to 1,332,832.

In its latest bulletin, the Department of Health (DOH) said the country’s number of active cases has reached 56,170.

Of these cases, 91.4 percent are mild, 4 percent are asymptomatic, 1.36 percent are moderate, 1.9 percent are severe, and 1.3 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH noted in its report that six accredited testing laboratories failed to submit data on time.

The agency also reported 7,637 patients recuperated from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,253,541.

COVID-related deaths climbed to a total of 23,121 with 158 new fatalities.

Data from the DOH also showed that 58 percent of the country’s ICU beds are occupied and 37 percent of ventilators are being used.

In the National Capital Region, 45 percent of the ICU beds are occupied while 33 percent of the ventilators are in use.

The DOH also reported the positivity rate of 13.7 percent out of 36,744 tests conducted last June 14.


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