DOH pushes to amend Covid-19 vax law if ‘state of calamity’ will not be extended


The Department of Health (DOH) is recommending to amend the Covid-19 Vaccination Law if the Marcos administration will not extend the period of state of calamity due to the pandemic.

DOH Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said they already presented this recommendation to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. recently.

“We are recommending that the RA 11525, which is the National Vaccination Law for Covid-19 be amended para maipasok natin dito sa batas na ito na gagawin o the amended law itong mga considerations natin,” said Vergeire in a press briefing on Tuesday, Aug. 16.

“Worst case scenario natin, if ever, hindi po natin mapa extend ang state of calamity, may pinaghahandaan na po ang Kagawaran ng Kalusugan and nakikipag usap tayo sa legislative department ng branch of government para matulungan tayo for us to amend the RA 11525,” she added.

Vergeire noted that they need to ensure the availability of Covid-19 vaccines under emergency use authorization (EUA).

“For example, yung ating EUA—na kailangan magpatuloy pa rin,” she said. Vergeire noted that Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson is the only one that applied so far for a Certificate of Product Registration for its Covid-19 vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing the CPR application of Janssen.

Aside from Covid-19 vaccines, other measures such price caps on medicines used for the treatment of Covid-19 as well as the additional benefits for healthcare workers were also linked to the declaration of state of calamity, said Vergeire.

The declaration of the nationwide state of calamity is set to end on Sept. 13, 2022.

Vaccination rollout

At present, Vergeire said that more than 72.1 million Filipinos have already been fully-vaccinated.

Also, over 17 million people have received their first booster shot and more than 1.8 million have received their second booster shot.

The DOH official urged the public to participate in the country’s Covid-19 vaccination program.

“Join the fight against Covid-19 and help build the country’s wall of immunity by joining millions of Filipinos in getting their vaccines and booster shots through our ‘PinasLakas’ campaign,” she said.