Free COVID-19 vaccination for all Filipinos pushed

Believing that the end to the quandary brought about by COVID-19 is “far from sight," Cebu Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa is pushing for the passage of a bill seeking the establishment of a free COVID-19 vaccination program for all Filipinos.

He filed House Bill No. 7287 to ensure that every Filipino in the country shall be entitled to free access to COVID-19 vaccine.

“Our biggest chance hinges on the discovery of a vaccine that will provide resistance, if not full immunity from the virus. This bill looks forward to the moment when such a vaccine should become available and hopes to ensure that processes and funding would already be in place for the vaccine’s immediate purchase,” Abellanosa said in his bill’s explanatory note.

“Further, this bill seeks free access to the vaccine in order to safeguard the health of the country’s most precious resource, the Filipino population,” he added.

HB No. 7287 directs the Department of Health (DoH) and its attached agencies to collaborate with the local government units (LGUs) to ensure the extensive and efficient delivery of the vaccines.

Under the bill, the DoH, in partnership with the Department of interior and Local Government (DILG), is mandated to formulate and promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the program within 60 days upon approval of the proposed Act.

The amount necessary for the implementation of the proposed Act shall be charged against current appropriations of the DoH, Abellanosa's bill provides. Thereafter, such sums necessary for the continued implementation of the proposed Act shall be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA), it said.