The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 to 11 years old.
FDA director general Dr. Eric Domingo, however, the specific dose—at 10 microgram—will still have to be procured.
The government is currently administering Pfizer’s 30-microgram dose for individuals 12 years old and above.
“The dosage is not the same. It will be a lower dose than the one we administer for adults,” Domingo added.
He said the lower-dose Pfizer vaccine has a 90 percent efficacy rate for children aged 5 to 11 years.
The FDA also granted an EUA to the anti-COVID-19 drug molnupiravir.
An EUA allows legal administration of the drug in the country but does not allow for commercial selling.
“This can only be given to adults aged 18 and above, who tested positive for COVID-19 and are at risk of developing severe illness,” Domingo said.
“Molnupiravir is given twice a day for five days, but should be given as soon as possible after diagnosis. And it should be given within the first five days after the onset of symptoms,” he added.
In related developments, a leader of the House of Representatives urged the inter-agency task force (IATF) on the COVID-19 pandemic to allow private subdivisions or villages to do their own booster vaccination for their residents.
Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo made the appeal after several of her constituents in the city’s second district, which she represents, inquired if they could receive their booster shots in the same areas in their villages where the IATF earlier permitted them to get their first and second doses.
With the government’s decision to shorten the time for giving the booster dose from six months to three months, Castelo said the authorities should expect crowding in many vaccination facilities.
“We should welcome the desire of many people to receive additional protection from Covid-19 and its new variant Omicron. Allowing homeowners’ associations that administered the basic shots to give the booster dose will ease crowding in inoculation centers,” she said.
She said many village residents were afraid to go to crowded centers to get vaccinated for fear of catching the virus.
She added she was sure village associations were willing to do booster vaccination for their constituents.
“They will not lack volunteer medical doctors, nurses and other health professionals from their residents,” Castelo stressed.
She pointed out that expanding the rollout of boosters would speed up the attainment of herd immunity against the virus.
The country logged on Thursday 288 new cases COVID-19, bringing the total to 2,837,903 as two laboratories were not operational and other 11 laboratories were not able to submit their data on time.
This, as the Department of Health reiterated its warning to the public during Christmas holidays about the possible spread of COVID-19 infections.
“Everyone is reminded not to be complacent about the threat of COVID-19. Instead, we must continue to adhere to minimum public health standards and always wear a facemask with a face shield, do physical distancing, and wash our hands. Also get vaccinated immediately to get added protection against COVID-19,” the DOH said in its latest case bulletin.
The DOH also reported 65 new fatalities, bringing the death toll to 50,981.
Active cases stood at 9,251.
Meanwhile, the independent OCTA Research Group now considers Quezon City as one of the cities as “very low risk.”
In the latest report of OCTA for the week of Dec. 14 to 20, the average daily new cases per day in Quezon City was down to 15 from 20 cases the previous week.