The Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) and Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP) have both welcomed the expansion of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine use to people aged 12 and above. 

The Department of Health announced the amendment on the American vaccine’s emergency use authorization on Tuesday (June 8).

According to Dr. Carmela Kasala, Spokesperson for PPS, children 12 years old and up can already be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, however, the government’s prioritization scheme will remain intact. 

“Ang Philippine Pediatric Society at Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines eh nag-issue ng statement na puwede namang mabakunahan na dahil meron tayong awtoridad pero ang priority pa rin ang nakakatanda sa age group na ‘yon,” Kasala told GMA News’ Unang Balita on Wednesday (June 9). 

This is in line with DOH’s prior announcement, which gives priority to groups who are most at-risk of getting the affliction. 

Kasala noted that people who are 18 years old and above are the most affected by COVID-19 – one reason why prioritization will be retained. However, she said that there have also been cases of children getting infected with COVID-19, though numbers are much lower compared to the elderly and middle-aged group. 

“Right now ang ating thrust [sa vaccination] eh 18 and above dahil ‘yung mga bakuna natin ay 18 and above ang EUA nila. Ang pinakatinatamaan ng COVID ay ang age group na ‘yon. Ang kabataan hindi masyadong tinatamaan pero siyempre may mga a little statistics din tayo for COVID-19 but not as much as the elderly and middle-aged group, ‘yung more than 18, I mean,” she explained. 

In a virtual conference yesterday, DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire shared that the agency welcomes the Pfizer shot’s approval for use in children and adolescents, but the limited vaccine supply will keep prioritization in place. 

“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.

However, she said once vaccine supplies stabilize, vaccination for adolescents and children will be ‘revisited.’

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

In January, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Pfizer in the country’s vaccine rollout. However, its use was limited to people 16 years old and above.

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