DOH asks Senate to amend law on Covid-19 vax program

The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday, 10 August sought the help of the Senate of the Philippines to amend the Republic Act No. 11525 or the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021. 

During the launching of PinasLakas booster vaccine at the Senate, Health Officer-in-Charge Maria Rosario Vergeire discussed the repercussions should the Marcos administration decide not to extend the state of calamity due to Covid-19 which is set to lapse in a month. 

“We also would not like to bring the issue of amending the Republic Act No. 11525, which is the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021, to our Senate officials and of course senate president,” Vergeire said.

“This is because when the state of calamity is lifted, the provisions of this law will be invalid already,” she added. 

Vergeire is referring to the provisions in the law such as the requirement for an emergency use authorization for Covid-19 vaccines, tax exemptions for vaccine manufacturers and donors, and emergency procurement of vaccines. 

She also noted that also anchored to the law are provisions like price caps on medicines used for Covid-19 treatment, and additional benefits of healthcare workers would also be affected by the absence of a state of calamity policy.

“So, this is one of the measures we are promoting in the Department of Health. We are hoping that we will help one another so that we can be able to amend this law,” she said. 

For his part, Zubiri, principal author of the RA 11525, expressed openness to amending the measure. 

“We will of course get advice from DOH, from Undersecretary Vergeire, if we need to amend or extend it. Because many of the protocols we released in the last two years were time-bound,” he said. 

“These were bills that were time-bound like the vax law, like the Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2, which have a time limit only during the duration of the emergency,” he added. 

The Philippines is currently under state of calamity status due to Covid-19 until September of this year. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *