Solon files bill on vaccination priorities

Quezon City 1st district Rep. Anthony Peter "Onyx" Crisologo is proposing the creation of an Emergency Immunization Program that would prioritize the most vulnerable sectors of society when it comes to administering vaccines.

(Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Crisologo, an Assistant Majority Leader, filed House Bill (HB) No.7463 for this purpose. The full title of the bill reads, "An Act providing immunization services to vulnerable and high-risk groups in times of outbreaks, pandemics, epidemics, and other unforeseen public health emergencies."

In his measure, the lawmaker noted how the emergence of the 2019 novel coronavirus has affected the order of things in many countries, the Philippines included.

He said that with the constraints of the country's resources and the immense extent of the consequences brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of setting the right priorities to respond to the situation is more pronounced.

Crisologo said that through the bill, the government will have a better control of the conditions during health crises and in effect save the most number of lives possible.

The measure says that in the event of an outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic like COVID-19, the Department of Health (DOH) shall create an Emergency Immunization Program for vulnerable and high-risk sectors to ensure the health of the general public.

The bill also states that "upon approval of a vaccine, the ERP shall provide immediate vaccination to the following vulnerable sectors, but not limited to: senior citizens, people who are immunocompromised or with underlying health conditions that affect their immune system, and medical frontliners."

"In times of national emergencies, proactive planning is of great importance for optimizing the country's policies. The creation of an Emergency Immunization Program is to provide for an equitable protection of the people by guaranteeing that the disproportionate chance of vulnerable sectors surviving the virus are promptly remedied through the strategic allocation of the limited fund of the country," Crisologo said.

The amount necessary for the implementation of this Act shall be included in the budget of DOH.