Bill limits DOH secretary’s choices of vaccines

Published December 30, 2018, 4:55 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte wants to repeal the discretion given to the Department of Health (DOH) secretary to augment the list of vaccine-preventable diseases in the mandatory basic immunization program.


Villafuerte said the Mandatory Infants and Health Immunization Act of 2011, (Republic Act 10152), is intended to address the then-growing number of newborns and children diagnosed with Hepatitis-B.

He said the law championed for children’s health against vaccine-preventable diseases and gave discretion to the Health secretary in determining other types of vaccines that may be included in the program.

“However, the ongoing debate over the effectivity of the dengue vaccine administered by the Department of Health the previous administration has us inquiring the wisdom of the law in giving the Secretary deciding powers, ” Villafuerte said.

“The intention of RA 10152 is clear in its fight to keep our youth healthy, but may also be smeared if not properly supervised,” he said.

Villafuerte filed House Bill 8775 proposing to repeal the Health secretary’s power to include vaccines in the mandatory basic immunization program.

“In the spirit of fairness and justice, the humble intention of this bill is to avoid putting on the wisdom of one individual the responsibility of deciding for the fortune of many, ” he said.

“Any proposal to add other types of vaccines not included in the law shall hence be made through an amendment of the law through Congress,” he said.

Under HB 8775, the mandatory basic immunization for all infants and children shall cover the following diseases: tuberculosis; diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella or German measles, hepatitis B, H influenza type B (HIB) and other types as may be determined by the Health chief.

Manila Rep. Cristal Bagatsing had earlier filed a similar bill seeking to remove the power of DOH secretary to determine other types of basic list of vaccine and augment the list of vaccine-preventable diseases in the mandatory immunization program.

Under House Bill 7451, she sought to repeal the discretion of the Health Secretary to augment the list of vaccine-preventable diseases in the mandatory basic immunization program.

“The bill seeks to remove in the list the power of Secretary to add in the list which in his or her wisdom that a certain vaccine be administered to infants and children,” she said.

“This power should be decided in Congress. Experience shows in the dengue controversy that the decision making should not be left to one person,” Bagatsing said.