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No COVID vaccine for those below 16

FILIPINOS under 16 years of age will not be receiving shots of the most promising coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccine that has already obtained emergency use authorizations (EUAs) in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, a House leader said on Sunday.

“For now, the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE cannot be used in individuals younger than 16 years old, based on our comprehensive review of the EUAs issued by pharmaceutical regulators in the three countries,” said Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor.

“The use of the vaccine in pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding is also either totally not recommended, or being discouraged with stern warnings,” Defensor, House health committee vice chairperson, pointed out.

“We expect our own Food and Drug Administration here to affirm the same recommendations – once the vaccine gets an EUA here – simply because the safety and efficacy of the shots in children under 16, pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding has yet to established by further clinical trials,” Defensor, chairman of the House committee on public accounts, said.

“In fact, the same recommendations are bound to apply to all newly developed COVID-19 vaccines that will eventually obtain EUAs in the country – not just the Pfizer-BioNTech shots,” Defensor said.

Defensor’s remarks came just as the Philippines is experiencing a “baby boom” owing to lockdowns and strict stay-at-home orders.

The Philippines is expected to record this year some two million pregnancies, of which 214,000 are unplanned, according to the Commission on Population and Development.

Defensor said that in Britain, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is “absolutely not recommended for use in pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding.”

“In fact, under their immunization guidelines, in all women of child-bearing age, pregnancy has to be ruled out first prior to vaccination,” Defensor said.

“Women of child-bearing age are also being told to avoid pregnancy for at least two months after their second dose of the vaccine,” Defensor said.

The vaccine is meant to be administered intramuscularly in the arm in a series of two doses 21 days apart.

“It is unknown whether the vaccine is excreted in human milk, and risks to newborns and infants cannot be excluded. Thus, in Britain, they are not recommending the shots during breastfeeding,” Defensor said.

In America and Canada, the use of the vaccine in pregnant women and mothers who are breastfeeding is also being discouraged with alerts, according to Defensor.

“They’ve issued notifications that data are not available to asses vaccine-associated risks during pregnancy and breastfeeding,” Defensor said.

The Philippines has sealed a deal to secure shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine through the efforts of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

The initial shipments are due to arrive in Manila by the second or the third quarter of 2021.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight