Duterte certifies urgency of indemnification fund bills

Published February 18, 2021, 2:25 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte has certified as urgent the bills seeking to establish an indemnification fund for those getting coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines, Vaccine Czar Carlito Galvez Jr., said.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

During the Palace press briefing on Thursday, February 18, Galvez said that President Duterte has certified as urgent Senate Bill No. 2057 and House Bill No. 8648.

According to presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the government will set aside P500 million for the vaccine recipients who may show adverse side effects after getting the shot.

Talks about the indemnification agreement surfaced after Pfizer and AstraZeneca, two pharmaceuticals that received an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), require such an agreement before the vaccine doses could be delivered.

On Wednesday, Galvez said that the national government has finally submitted the required indemnification agreement to the two vaccine manufacturers.

Why is the indemnification fund bill important?

Roque explained that the indemnification bill was important because the Philippines will be procuring vaccines that are authorized for emergency use and not commercial use.

“Dahil nasa emergency use authorization (EUA), hindi pa tayo sigurado kung ano ang magiging side effects ng mga bakuna kaya kinakailangan magkaroon ng (Because it is still under the EUA, we are not yet sure of the side effects of the vaccines so it is important that we have the no-fault indemnification,” he said.

According to Roque, a no-fault indemnification allows those who may show side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine to claim damages without having to go to court and prove that there was fault or negligence that led to the side effect.

“Basta meron kang pinakitang side effect, bayad kaagad (As long as you show side effects, you will be paid),” he said.

“Sa ganitong paraan, magagamit po natin ang mga bakuna na alam natin sa ngayon eh ligtas at epektibo (This way, we are able to use the vaccines that we know are safe and effective),” he added.

The Palace official said the country cannot wait for vaccine manufacturers to be issued a commercial use authorization because of the threat of the more contagious COVID-19 strain that originated from the United Kingdom.

Roque added that an indemnification fund will give the people the confidence to be vaccinated even if the vaccines are for emergency use only.