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House OKs bill expanding mandatory immunization program on 2nd reading

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on second reading the bill seeking to enhance the country's disease prevention efforts by expanding the mandatory immunization program for all life stages.

In a vote of ayes and nays, the chamber approved House Bill 8558, or the proposed "Mandatory Immunization Program Act," repealing RA 10152 or the “Mandatory Infants and Children Immunization Act of 2011."

The measure provides the list of diseases which will now be covered the national immunization program, namely:

  • tuberculosis
  • diphtheria
  • tetanus and pertussis
  • poliomyelitis
  • measles
  • mumps
  • rubella or German measles
  • hepatitis-B
  • H. influenza type B (HIB)
  • rotavirus
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
  • human papilloma virus (HPV)

Also included in the national immunization program are booster for measles, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria (MRTD).

Apart from these diseases, the immunization program will also cover other vaccine-preventable illnesses as may be determined by the Secretary of Health upon the recommendation of the National Immunization Technical and Advisory Group and after a separate or joint public hearing conducted by the health panels of Congress.

The Department of Health is mandated under the measure to conduct massive and continuing education and information campaigns on the importance of immunization to boost public confidence in vaccines.

House Committee on Health chairperson Helen Tan, who principally authored the measure, welcomed its approval on second reading.

“The timing for the approval of this significant health measure cannot be more perfect as the country is looking forward toward the introduction of COVID-19 vaccine, which is likely to become available in the country anytime soon," she said.

"I am certain that this health legislation will pave the way for a more relevant, responsive, and reinvigorated immunization program that all Filipinos so badly need at this point," she added.—LDF, GMA News