Duterte signs COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021

Published February 26, 2021, 9:38 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte has signed into law the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 the speeds up the procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccines and establishes an indemnity fund for those who may show adverse side effects after getting the shot.

President Rodrigo Duterte

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the announcement just two days ahead of the scheduled arrival of the country’s first batch of COVID-19 vaccines on February 28 since the start of the pandemic last year.

“We are confident that the signing of this landmark piece of legislation would expedite the procurement and administration of vaccines for the protection against COVID-19,” he said in his statement Friday evening.

“It covers the creation of an indemnity fund to cover compensation for those who would experience serious adverse effects to the vaccine,” he added.

The Palace official said that the government will continue to undertake measures that will help address the threat and the effects of the pandemic.

“Indeed, we remain committed in our fight against the coronavirus pandemic and we are using necessary means, such as the enactment of this Republic Act, certified urgent by the President, as a way to start our vaccine rollout,” Roque said.

President Duterte signed the bill for the said measure as urgent on February 18.

The measure allows local government units (LGUs) and the private sector to purchase COVID-19 vaccines. It also exempts LGUs from the country’s procurement law and auditing code so they can buy vaccines.

Meanwhile, the measure also sets up an indemnity fund worth P500 million for the recipients of the vaccine who will show adverse side effects after getting the shot. The patients can claim damages without having to prove fault or negligence.

The said amount will be sourced from the Contingent Fund for the 2021 national budget and will be managed by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Roque said last week that the law was important as it will boost the confidence of the people to have themselves vaccinated against COVID-19.