Palace backs move for Philhealth to compensate vaccine recipients who may suffer adverse side effects

Published February 15, 2021, 5:18 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang has backed a proposal to let the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) cover the compensation of vaccine recipients who may suffer adverse side effects.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Health Secretary Francisco Duque III has already suggested that PhilHealth should shoulder the treatment for affected vaccine beneficiaries.

“The essence of universal health care is we have single purchaser of all medical goods and services. So, pagdating sa side effects, siyempre ang magbibigay pa rin po ay ang PhilHealth (So when it comes to side effects, of course PhilHealth must provide aid),” Roque said during a televised press briefing Monday, Feb. 15.

PhiHealth president Dante Gierran said the PhilHealth board is expected to discuss the proposed compensation for vaccine-related ailments this coming Thursday. Gierran, speaking at the Laging Handa briefing Monday, said the state corporation still has reserve funds for the vaccine compensation proposal.

The delivery of the country’s vaccine supplies through the COVAX facility recently hit a snag reportedly due to the processing of documents. The indemnity agreement between COVAX and the Philippine government is reportedly being ironed out to prevent further delays in the vaccine delivery. 

The initial shipment of the Pfizer vaccines from the global scheme was earlier expected to arrive mid-February.

Roque has assured the nation that vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. mentioned the delay in the vaccine delivery will only be for a week.

“Doon naman po sa COVAX Facility, ang obligasyon din natin ay dapat tayo rin po ang mag-compensate sa mga magkakaroon ng side effects (In the COVAX facility, it will be our obligation to compensate those who will suffer side effects),” he said.

“What they want by way of an assurance, we have already enacted into law in the Universal Health Care law,” he added.

Government officials earlier called on Congress to pass a bill that will provide a vaccine indemnification fund for vaccine-related ailments. Galvez noted that having an indemnity law would boost the confidence vaccine makers to provide supplies to the country.