FDA evaluates 3 brands of COVID vaccines for use on minors

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is evaluating three other COVID-19 vaccines for possible use in children, according to FDA officer in charge Oscar Gutierrez.

So far, only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have received emergency use authorization in the country for pediatric vaccination.

The Pfizer vaccine can be used on children as young as 5 years old, while the Moderna vaccine can be used on children as young as 12 years old.

Gutierrez said Covaxin, which was made by Indian company Bharat Biotech, was being reviewed for emergency use in ages 2 to 18.

Sinovac and Sinopharm have also applied to have their emergency use authorization amended so that their vaccines can be given to children ages 3 to 17, he said.

Once their emergency use authorization is amended, it would increase the country’s supply of childhood vaccines, he said.

“If these three pass our clinical evaluation and the FDA standard, we will have five vaccines in the immediate future,” he said during a meeting with the president on Monday.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez said the FDA has received 11 requests for special certification of self-testing kits for COVID-19.

He said all 11 have been reviewed by the FDA and forwarded to the Tropical Medicine Research Institute for performance validation.

Once these test kits receive special certification, they will be available to households and individuals, he said.

He also said the FDA would continue to monitor them to verify their performance.

As this developed, there is not yet a recommended booster for people who have received the Sinopharm vaccine, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

Undersecretary of Health Myrna Cabotaje issued the notice during a House hearing on Tuesday after Malacañang remarked that President Duterte had already received a booster shot despite being inoculated by Sinopharm.

“Unfortunately, we are still studying our policy and our panel is still studying what the recall is for Sinopharm,” Cabotaje told lawmakers.

“There are not enough studies because there is no data available elsewhere abroad, even from Sinopharm, on what is the appropriate booster for this. We are constantly asking our experts”, a- she declared.

The health official said it was difficult to recommend which booster shot would be given to recipients of the Sinopharm vaccine.

“We’re just asking patients to wait a little longer until we have a final recommendation from our experts with FDA approval,” she said.

In his usual public address on January 6, Mr Duterte said he had already received a booster shot but did not reveal the mark. Duterte received his second dose of China’s Sinopharm vaccine in July last year and his first dose in May 2021. INQ

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