PhilHealth to cover treatment costs for adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines

By CNN Philippines Staff

The state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. will shoulder the treatment costs of those who may experience adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, the Department of Health said Saturday.

“They are going to use the existing case rates [of PhilHealth]. Existing case rates kasi natin kapag may adverse reactions tapos kailangan ma-ospital ng isang tao papasok iyon doon and they are covered,” DO to PhilHealth’s COVID-19 packages.

[Translation: They are covered by the existing case rates in case they experience adverse reactions, and they need to be hospitalized.]

This is in light of the requirement from suppliers for the national government to set up a compensation fund for COVID-19 vaccine recipients who may suffer serious side effects to avoid liability since their products are still under development.

Government officials have been repeatedly asking Congress to pass a measure aimed at indemnifying vaccinated individuals for adverse effects.

Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said the absence of an indemnification law is hampering the delivery of the initial 117,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. These shots from the COVAX facility are supposed to arrive this month. COVAX is an initiative led by the World Health Organization, along with the vaccine alliance Gavi and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which seeks to provide over 150 participating countries equitable access to coronavirus vaccines.

The WHO representative in the country had previously told CNN Philippines that all governments that joined the COVAX facility initiative have agreed to put up indemnification funds.

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