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Duterte signs law expediting vaccination and creating indemnity fund

People who will suffer serious side effects Covid-19 vaccines are now assured of compensation from the government after President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021. 

In a statement, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go confirmed Duterte signed the said legislation on Friday, a few days before the arrival of the country’s first batch of Covid-19 vaccines on Feb. 28, 2021.  

Under the new legislation, the government allocated P500 million for the indemnification from vaccine recipients, who will have adverse side effect.

In an interview with PTV on Thursday, Senator Joel Villanueva said the Senate version of the law, which was eventually adopted by the House of Representatives, will also empower the local government units and the private sector to purchase their Covid-19 vaccine. 

Among the said provisions of the said legislation, the lawmaker said, is it exempts Covid-19 vaccine from taxes and other fees. 

Villanueva said the legislation will also ensure the  Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the Department of Health (DOH) will be able to oversee the deployment Covid-19 vaccine. 

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque welcomed the passage of the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, which he said expedites the procurement and administration of Covid-19 vaccines.

“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 in a statement. 

Chief implementer of the government’s national policy on Covid-19 Carlito G. Galvez earlier said some pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to sell Covid-19 vaccines to the government until the indemnification policy becomes a law.  

The 600,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine from Chinese drug maker, Sinovac Biotech, is expected to arrive on Sunday. 

Since each person will need two doses of the vaccine to be inoculated from Covid-19, around 300,000 people are expected to benefit from the 600,000 Coronavac doses donated by the Chinese government.   

The government is expected to start implementing its Covid-19 vaccination drive once the said shipment of Coronavac doses arrive.

Image credits: Robinson Ninal Jr./Malacañang Presidential Photographers Division via AP
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