The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the emergency use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 17 on Friday, Sept. 3.
FDA Director General Eric Domingo said during the Laging Handa press briefing that the approval came after a “thorough evaluation by our vaccine and regulatory experts.”
Moderna sought emergency use authorization (EUA) of its COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents on Aug. 19, when only 18 years old and older were allowed to get the jab.
The FDA chief said standard precautions should be made when administering the vaccines, and warned that those who will be getting the Moderna jab should be monitored for rare cases of myocarditis, or the inflammation of the heart muscle.
Domingo noted that myocarditis occurs in one every million people and is developed mostly in younger males.
“Definitely with the Delta variant affecting a lot of children, the experts saw that the benefit of using the vaccine outweighs the risks,” he said.
With the country’s limited vaccine supply, adolescents and children are still not included in the vaccination drive, which focuses on high-risk groups like senior citizens, persons with comorbidities and economic frontliners.
In August, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez said the government is eyeing children ages 12 to 17 years old to be included in the inoculation program by the end of September or October if the vaccine supply was enough.
In June, the FDA also approved the use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 years old.
As of Sept. 1, the Philippines has so far administered over 34 million jabs, with over 14 million individuals or 13% of the population now fully vaccinated.
Banner and thumbnail photos by Joseph Prezioso / AFP