The Philippines Food and Drug Administration has given Moderna’s Covid vaccine approval for emergency use in people 12 to 17 years old, just days after the country’s overall coronavirus caseload surpassed 2 million.

Speaking on Friday at a press briefing, the director general of the regulatory body, Eric Domingo, stated that the Moderna vaccine had been approved for emergency use in minors between the ages of 12 and 17 “after a thorough evaluation by our vaccine experts and our regulatory experts.”

Domingo also touched on concerns over heart inflammation, namely myocarditis and pericarditis, in people who receive mRNA vaccines like Moderna’s. However, he stressed that incidences are rare and are mainly in younger males.

“Definitely with the Delta variant affecting a lot of children, our experts saw that the benefit of using the vaccine outweighs the risk,” Domingo said.  

The emergency authorization of Moderna’s Covid vaccine (Spikevax) in the Philippines for young people comes after the country surpassed 2 million coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

There have been multiple reports of contamination in vials in Japan, with authorities halting the distribution of around 2.6 million Moderna vaccines. Foreign substances, including black and pink matter, were found in doses in several prefectures across the country. Two men died after receiving shots from the botched batches, prompting Tokyo to launch an inquiry to determine the exact causes of death.

According to statistics from the Department of Health, just over 19,300,000 first doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Philippines, while the number of second shots stands close to 13,800,000.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the South-East Asian country has registered 2.04 million coronavirus cases and 33,873 fatalities.

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