DOH says amended vaccine EUA possible to cover minors, but older age groups remain priority

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 26) — While COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers may seek regulatory approval for their products’ use on minors, a health official stressed doses are still limited in the country and the older, more vulnerable groups remain the primary concern.

Health Spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire on Wednesday explained firms can apply for an amended emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to cover children and teenagers.

Even so, the older population, which she noted has a heavier burden of disease, would still have to be immunized first before moving on to young children.

“With our current supplies of vaccines, we would like to focus more on the older age groups, like the elderlies, those with comorbidities, those essential sectors...because [children] have the least risk for contracting the disease and the least risk for dying based on the statistics we have,” she told CNN Philippines' News Night.

All vaccines globally are for people aged 18 and above, save for the Pfizer brand which is allowed for 16 years old and up. Pfizer was also recently approved in the United States and Canada to be administered to 12 to 15 years old.

Some 3.46 million people nationwide have so far been vaccinated against COVID-19, including nearly 1.03 million who have received their second dose.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier assured the government will eventually broaden its inoculation program to include those aged 1 to 17, which he said make up 29 million of the population.