DOH favors clinical trial on COVID-19 vaccines for Filipino kids; manufacturers eye similar studies

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 11) — The Department of Health is in favor of the Department of Science and Technology's idea to hold a clinical trial to know the effects of COVID-19 vaccines on Filipino children.

"Yes, we are open to that," Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Friday in an online media briefing.

The DOST earlier expressed willingness to conduct the study after Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the Duterte administration will wait for other countries to include minors in their COVID-19 inoculation programs and learn from their experience.

The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines varies depending on one's race, so it would be better to test these shots on Filipino kids, Vergeire noted.

Similar studies

Some manufacturers are eyeing similar studies, the official said, but she cannot name them yet as the proposals are not final.

Vergeire then reiterated that the COVID-19 vaccination of minors can wait for now as they have the "least risk" of needing hospitalization once they catch the coronavirus and the vaccine supply remains low.

The country's limited vaccine stock is currently earmarked for sectors considered vulnerable to COVID-19. These are the healthcare personnel, senior citizens, people with comorbidities, and essential workers.

Wait for your turn

Vergeire urged the public to be patient and follow the prioritization protocol after a number of people in Cebu City reportedly lied about having comorbidities to get inoculated against COVID-19.

"You don't need to fake your documents. 'Di niyo kailangang magsinungaling na may sakit kayo. Mabibigyan kayo kasi karapatan niyo po iyan," she said.

[Translation: You don't need to lie about being sick. You will eventually receive your COVID-19 shot because that is your right.]