Galvez, NTF execs to take blame if vaccines cause ‘unintended’ results
MANILA, Philippines — Vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. said he and other officials of the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 will be the ones to take responsibility if the government-procured vaccines yield “unintended consequences” to the health of receivers.
During Friday’s Senate hearing into the national Covid-19 vaccination plan, Senator Risa Hontiveros asked officials about the possible liability of the national government should those vaccinated experience adverse effects from the purchased jabs.
“Sino po ang aako ng responsibilidad at mananagot sa taumbayan? Sino ang maaaring kasuhan kung kinakailangan?” Hontiveros asked.
(Who would claim responsibility? Who can be charged if needed?)
In response, Galvez told senators that he as well as other members of NTF would be held responsible.
“If you will speak about who will be responsible, I myself will be responsible [for] what I am doing right now and also all of our members of the NTF. We are held responsible for these negotiations,” he said.
“In terms of responsibility, I will take care of the responsibility because the President has said that in this procurement process I will be held responsible for this, together with [Defense] Sec. [Delfin] Lorenzana and [Interior] Sec. Eduardo Año,” he added.
Lorenzana serves as the NTF’s chairman while Año is the task force’s vice chairman.
“That’s why we wanted these negotiations to be transparent and to be diligent and should be science-based,” Galvez went on.
The recommendations of the country’s vaccine expert panel and the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “will be strictly followed” in the purchase of vaccines for the country, he also assured.
He added that negotiations between the government and vaccine makers are preceded by a series of evaluations of the vaccine expert panel.
“Also we consulted the HTAC (Health Technology Assessment Council (HTAC) on what vaccine will be safe and effective and also affordable,” he said.
The government is eyeing to purchase a total of 148 million doses of vaccines from seven firms in 2021.
Galvez, earlier in the hearing, said the government’s choice of which vaccine makers to buy from was “based on the recommendation of the vaccine expert panel.”
The seven companies are Novavax, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson of the United States; United Kingdom’s AstraZeneca; China’s Sinovac Biotech; and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute.
So far, Pfizer is the only firm that was able to get an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA while applications of Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and Gamaleya are still being reviewed by the government regulator.
Aside from a EUA from the FDA, these vaccines would have to first secure approval from the HTAC before government funds can actually be released for their procurement and the jabs are administered to individuals, officials also said during the hearing.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.