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COVID-19 Vaccine Law grants gov't workers, vaccine makers immunity

The COVID-19 Vaccination Program Law provides government officials, vaccine makers, and authorized private entities immunity from suit and any liability as a result of administering a COVID-19 vaccine under the Philippine government’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

This was stated in the copy of the law released by the Palace on Monday afternoon but was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last February 26.

The measure reads, “public officials and employees, contractors, manufacturers, volunteers and representatives of duly authorized private entities who are duly authorized to carry out and are actually carrying out the COVID-19 vaccination program will be immune for suit and liability under Philippine laws with respect to all claims arising out of, related to, or resulting from the administration or use of a COVID-19 vaccine under the COVID-19 vaccination program except arising willful misconduct and gross negligence.”

Likewise, the measure provides for a P500 million indemnity fund for the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) which would enable the state-run health insurance firm to grant financial compensation in case of death, permanent disability, or hospital confinement of an individual who was inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine.

The same measure also mandates the Department of Health to issue a COVID-19 vaccine card, subject to the provisions of the Data Privacy Act.

The COVID-19 vaccine card should contain the following:

  • full name
  • present/permanent address
  • birthdate
  • COVID-19 vaccine brand name
  • date of vaccination
  • name of the health care facility where the vaccine was received
  • name, signature and license number of the duly licensed physician, nurse and other health workers administering the vaccine, among others.

“To fast track the process, the DOH may delegate the processing and issuance of vaccine cards to LGUs and private entities, subject to the guidelines promulgated by DOH,” the law read.

“The issuance of vaccine card is intended to be digital, but will remain accessible through other means such as printed cards.”

The Philippines started its COVID-19 mass vaccination program on Monday, a day after 600,000 doses of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Chinese government arrived in the country.

The Philippines is the last country to start its COVID-19 vaccine rollout among 10 Southeast Asian nations.

The Philippine government earmarked P72.5 billion for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines, but not a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine paid for by the government has been delivered to the country as of Monday. — DVM, GMA News