Vaccinate ‘older and more vulnerable age groups’ first vs COVID-19, says pediatric groups

Published June 9, 2021, 4:58 PM

by Analou de Vera

An airport employee waits to receive a coronavirus jab at a vaccination site located in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on June 2, 2021 (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

Two pediatric societies in the country have agreed with government authorities to follow for now the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine prioritization list.

The Philippine Pediatric Society (PPS) and the Pediatric Infectious Disease Society of the Philippines (PIDSP) welcomed the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval to include individuals aged 12 to 15 who can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. However, they stressed that the more vulnerable individuals should first be vaccinated.

“[We] acknowledge that children may be vaccinated with any duly approved COVID-19 vaccine; however, given the limited vaccine supply, both PPS and PIDSP recommend that the older and more vulnerable age groups be prioritized,” the two groups said in a joint statement.

“Once the country will have adequate vaccine supply, children with co-morbidities may be given precedence for vaccination,” they added.

The groups noted that COVID-19 in the pediatric age group “is less common compared with adults.”

“Older age groups should be given precedence in the vaccination roll-out, whilst acknowledging that children will eventually need to be vaccinated to achieve 70 percent population immunity,” they said.

“More data on the safety profile of the vaccines should also be made available and considered before implementing large-scale pediatric COVID-19 vaccination,” they added.

Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Tuesday, June 9, said that the government will stick to its prioritization framework amid the amendment in the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“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,” she said.

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