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DOH relying on passage of CDC bill for release of donated bivalent jabs

The Department of Health (DOH) is now depending on the enactment of the bill establishing the country’s own Center for Disease Control (CDC) so that the donations of COVID-19 bivalent vaccines to the Philippines would push through, officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said on Tuesday.

The Health official made the remark after admitting that there are no legal remedies seen yet to address the conditions on the immunity from liability and indemnification clauses that are required by vaccine manufacturers before the donations can proceed.

DOH has tapped the Department of Justice and the Office of Solicitor General, along with the Office of the President, to study legal remedies about the matter.

“Mukhang nandon tayo ngayon sa isang sitwasyon that we are challenged by our legal situation,” Vergeire said.

(It seems that we are now in a situation where we are challenged by our legal situation.)

“We started working on this as early as I think that was February at talagang hanggang sa ngayon, wala pa tayong makita pa na remedy na pwede sa ngayon. Kasi wala nga pong basehan ang ating gobyerno to enter to this kind of agreement,” she added.

(Until now, we have not yet seen any possible remedy because our government has no basis to enter into this kind of agreement.)

Vergeire expressed hope that the CDC bill would be passed by June this year as it would cover the mentioned conditions.

Vergeire, however, assured that the commitment of the COVAX facility to donate over one million doses of the second-generation vaccines to the Philippines would remain despite currently being put on hold. 

“We will wait for this legal basis for us to enter into these agreements until we can be able to provide our citizens the exact timeline as to when bivalent vaccines will be available,” Vergeire said.

Bivalent vaccines are second-generation jabs that target the Omicron variant. —VAL, GMA Integrated News