Solon Files Bill Mandating COVID-19 Vaccines To Be Free for Filipinos
Senator Leila de Lima filed a bill that mandates COVID-19 referral hospitals and tertiary public hospitals to offer free COVID-19 vaccines to Filipinos.
De Lima stated, “the need to guarantee free vaccination for all Filipinos whose right to health should not be diminished by belatedly acting on the health crisis.”
There are currently four vaccine-makers that applied for clinical trials in the Philippines, namely:
- Sinovac Biotech Ltd.;
- Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology;
- Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson; and
- Clover Biopharmaceuticals.
AstraZeneca, a British Drugmaker, had previously applied for clinical trials in the country but withdrew its application last week, stating that the company “already had enough data.”
Congress already approved a ₱4.5 trillion national budget for 2021, allocating ₱2.5 billion for vaccines under the Department of Health (DOH) budget and ₱70 billion more in unprogrammed funds.
The Bayanihan Recover as One Act also holds a standby fund of ₱10 billion, tallying the total allocation for the country’s COVID-19 vaccine budget to ₱82.5 billion.
Senate Bill No. 1942 also mandates the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to create a distribution plan prioritizing frontliners, vulnerable sectors, and areas with a high concentration of COVID-19 cases.
De Lima continued, “A concrete plan of action that will universally promote the right of all Filipinos to health is vital in winning this battle against COVID-19.”
According to the DOH, the current total of COVID-19 cases in the country has amounted to 449,400.
Currently, there are 21,980 active cases in the country, with a death toll of 8,733.
At present, DOH claims that there are 418,687 recovered COVID-19 patients in the Philippines.