President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday signed into law the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021 that would expedite the procurement of vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), and set up a P500-million indemnity fund for those who will suffer adverse effects from vaccination.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said he and his fellow lawmakers worked double time to speed up the passage of the bill to help expedite the delivery of the much needed vaccines to the country. The measure was sponsored by Senate Committee on Finance Chair Sonny Angara and was also co-sponsored by Go and other senators.
The signing came after Congress no longer convened a bicameral conference committee since Senate Bill 2057 or the proposed Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act passed by the Senate on Feb. 23 was adopted by the House of Representatives on the same day.
The law tasks the Department of Health and the National Task Force Against Covid-19 to supervise the negotiated purchase of Covid-19 vaccines, as well as the needed supplies and services for their storage, transport, and distribution.
It also authorizes local government units (LGUs) to procure Covid-19 vaccines and needed supplies and services.
Private firms, the law states, are also allowed to purchase vaccines, subject to similar restrictions and conditions set for LGUs and only for their sole and exclusive use.
The Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act also provides that the procurement, importation, donation, storage, transport, deployment, and administration of Covid-19 vaccines will be exempted from customs duties, value-added tax, excise tax, and other fees.
Under the law, a P500-million indemnity fund will also be created for any person who experiences adverse effects after getting inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine.