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COVID vaccine for children sought

HOUSE committee on health vice chairman and Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor on Sunday said he is worried that Filipino children under 18 years old could end up among the last to receive any coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccine once it becomes available.

“All the ongoing final stages of human clinical trials to determine the safety and efficacy of potential COVID-19 vaccines are for now targeting only the general adult population who are 18 years of age or older,” Defensor, chairman of the House committee on public accounts, said.

“While vaccines may possibly be approved for emergency use on the adult population by the second half of 2021, drug regulators around the world, including our own Food and Drug Administration here, may require further clinical studies to ascertain the safety of the boosters on children,” Defensor pointed out.

“We must stress that the prospective COVID-19 shots in advance trials are unlike other vaccines – such as those for measles, polio and tetanus – that were designed from the start to be given to children,” Defensor explained.

Defensor made the statement as the Department of Health (DoH) prepared to launch its monthlong immunization drive for babies and toddlers against measles-rubella and polio.

Widespread immunization against COVID-19 is not expected until mid-2021, despite the anticipation of progress in producing available vaccines, according to the World Health Organization.

Several experimental coronavirus vaccines are already undergoing the last phase of human trials around the world.

The trials are expected to last three to six months.