The Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the emergency use of SpikeVax, commonly known as the US-brand Moderna mRNA vaccine, for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years old on Sept. 3.
According to FDA Director General Eric Domingo, vaccine experts and the FDA regulatory team deemed the Moderna vaccine safe and effective for age groups below 18 years old, especially with the threat of the B.1.617.2, commonly known as the Delta Variant.
Recently, the World Health Organization confirmed the local transmission of the Delta Variant and was said to be the dominant variant in the Philippines.
The said vaccine was the second COVID-19 vaccine to be given an EUA for age groups below 18 by the FDA after Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine was authorized to be used for 12-15 years old last June 8.
Domingo also reminded vaccinators to watch out for rare cases of myocarditis or heart inflammation among younger males inoculated with mRNA vaccines first reported in the US.
With most of the vaccine supply available in the country limited to the priority groups and high-risk individuals, the Philippine government has yet to include adolescents or individuals below the age of 18 in the vaccination priority to further ramp up the immunization especially with the emergence of different SARS CoV-2 variants.
Recently, Japan suspended the use of approximately 1.63 million Moderna doses after its health department found contaminants made of stainless steel suspended in the vaccines. Moderna claimed that the particles would not result in severe medical risks as stainless steel is used for heart valves and joint replacement.
Moderna and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. have been working to recall the contaminated doses of vaccines.
The FDA assured the public that the doses delivered to the Philippines were not affected by the said incident. However, they advised vaccinators to thoroughly inspect vaccines prior to inoculation.
As of Sept. 1, the country has administered 34,112,320 doses with 14,109,916 or 19.91% of the population fully vaccinated.
As of writing, there are more than two million reported COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.