Extension of validity of Bayanihan 2’s COVID-19 vaccine provisions pushed
Extension of validity of Bayanihan 2’s COVID-19 vaccine provisions until 2022 pushed
MANILA, Philippines — A party-list lawmaker is pushing for the extension of several provisions under the Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act — including the expedited process in the procurement and continued immunization of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease.
In filing House Bill No. 8017, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles underscored the need to ensure the continuity of essential response and recovery interventions with respect to the COVID-19 vaccine in the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2.
Nograles said the government must have continuous access to funding to ensure that the country will have the money to buy the vaccine without the need to enact a new Bayanihan Law.
Thus, Nograles pushed for the extension of validity of several provisions in the bill including Section 12, which delves into the procurement of COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, until December 31, 2022.
Under Section 12 of Bayanihan 2, “the requirement of Phase IV trials for COVID-19 medication and vaccine stipulated in the Universal Health Care Law is hereby waived to expedite the procurement of said medication and vaccine, provided that these are recommended and approved by the World Health Organization and/or other internationally recognized health agencies…”
This provision of Bayanihan 2 further states that nothing in the measure “shall prohibit private entities from conducting research, developing, manufacturing, importing, distributing or selling COVID-19 vaccine sourced from registered pharmaceutical companies…”
Nograles likewise pushed for the extension of the following provisions in the bill:
- Delivery of uninterrupted immunization program against vaccine preventable disease especially on children amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, including vaccine for COVID-19;
- Ensuring that donation, acceptance and distribution of health products intended to address the COVID-19 pandemic are not unnecessarily delayed and that health products for donation duly certified by the regulatory agency or their accredited third party from countries with established regulation shall automatically be cleared;
- Liberalization of the grant of incentives for the manufacture or importation of critical or needed equipment or supplies or essential goods for the carrying-out of the policy declared, including health care equipment and supplies
Nograles said the three provisions should also be extended until December 31, 2022 “to ensure the continuity of these essential interventions until a safe COVID-19 vaccine is available.”
The lawmaker said essential response and recovery interventions with respect to COVID-19 vaccine and procurement must not be bogged down due to lack of funding.
Under the current Bayanihan 2, the funding for the procurement of COVID-19 medication and vaccine is set to lapse three months after December 19, 2020.
“Republic Act No. 11494 was enacted in anticipation of the commercial availability of the vaccines by the end of 2020. Many potential COVID-19 vaccines, to date, are still going through the three-stage clinical trial process and the results are expected to be reported by the end of 2020 or early 2021,” Nograles said in the bill’s explanatory note.
“After the clinical trials, the results must be verified and approved by regulatory agencies before any large-scale production and commercial distribution of vaccine in the market may commence,” Nograles added.
Earlier this week, Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo filed House Bill No. 8031 or the proposed Bayanihan to Arise as One Act. If approved, this would become Bayanihan 3.
Quimbo’s bill seeks to allot another P400 billion to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
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