NTF: Covid-19 vaccination for minors aged 5 to 11 under evaluation

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MANILA – The vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 will begin once local authorities have completed the appropriate assessments and safety protocols on the measure, according to Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., the chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against Covid-19.

“(The) 5 to 11 age bracket, most likely, it takes time for the assessment and also we will also look at the experience in the United States. Once Pfizer submits the dossier for its approval here, I believe it will take only take a few weeks before the (Philippines) FDA (Food and Drug Administration) can announce its decision. More or less, they might approve it by December,” Galvez told reporters shortly after the arrival of 2,098,980 doses of Pfizer vaccine donated by the US, through the COVAX Facility at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 on Sunday night.

He made the statement after the US Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in children aged 5 to 11 years old, becoming it the first vaccine brand to receive such permission for kids in the US.

Galvez stated that once approved, they will adopt the same method as when inoculating children aged 12 to 17.

“We will use same protocol since it gives us a leeway to see for ourselves how we can inoculate it based on sequential manner but now what we have seen in our rollout and we are very happy with the result considering that the result we have accelerated the start of inoculation of (minors) set on November 3 nationwide and the full-scale vaccination is on November 5,” said Galvez.

Galvez also expressed gratitude to the US government for their most recent contribution.

“I would like to thank the COVAX Facility, WHO (World Health Organization), and the US government for giving us this another batch of 2.98 million vaccines doses that will benefit more than 1 million people. We would like also to announce that the COVAX will donate more vaccines and we will announce it in proper time but it is a very sizeable amount. We also thank Pfizer and the other manufacturers for providing us the access to the vaccines,” he added.

According to Heather Variava, US Embassy Manila Chargé d’Affaires, the grant will assist the Philippines to quickly recover from the pandemic.

“This brings to more than 20 million the vaccine doses donated by the United States thru COVAX to the Philippines while the total number of the COVAX facility-donated vaccine doses to the Philippines is now about 28 million. I only want to encourage the people of the Philippines to get vaccinated. This way, our economy, and schools will back to normal,” Variava told reporters.

Based on the National Covid-19 Vaccination Dashboard, the Philippines has already administered 59,134,236 doses nationwide.

Of the total, 31,862,067 doses were given as first shots and 27,272,169 were used as second doses.

When asked if the Philippines can accomplish its goal of fully vaccinating 70% of the target population by the end of the year, Galvez responded, “We will try to have that target but for now, realistically, we can have more or less 50 to 60 percent.”

Galvez also urged local government units to double their efforts in vaccinating their constituents.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.