Vaccine experts reject immediate plan to inoculate Filipino kids vs COVID-19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 10) — A group of vaccine experts in the country has agreed that children and teenagers should not yet be included in the government's COVID-19 vaccination program despite the threat of the Delta variant.

Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, on Tuesday said the group of experts came to this conclusion after meeting this week.

He said minors should not be vaccinated yet against COVID-19 due to unstable vaccine supply and lack of efficacy and safety data for this age group.

“It was the consensus recommendation of the All Experts Group not to recommend vaccination at this time and include them in the priority," he told CNN Philippines.

The official said the experts recommended that the current priority list be maintained and vaccination continue for sectors more vulnerable to contracting severe COVID-19. He earlier said children who contract the coronavirus are most likely to have a mild or asymptomatic infection.

Montoya, however, said the final decision lies with the Department of Health.

RELATED: Children vulnerable to Delta variant, but adults must be prioritized in vaccination – FDA

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. on Sunday said some officials proposed to vaccinate minors aged 12 to 17 by the end of September or October after seeing how they are impacted by the more transmissible Delta variant.

At least 24 million additional doses will be needed if the government decides to vaccinate this age group, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The country has fully vaccinated 11.39 million individuals, while 13 million have received their first dose. Despite a stable supply of vaccines arriving in the country, many of those included in the prioritization list — particularly essential workers or the A4 group — have yet to receive their vaccination schedules.

CNN Philippines correspondent AC Nicholls contributed to this report.