Senate OKs bill on P1.16-B special fund for Dengvaxia recipients

Sofia Tomacruz
Senate OKs bill on P1.16-B special fund for Dengvaxia recipients
(UPDATED) The proposed fund will be used to shoulder the medical expenses and monitor the health of over 870,000 public school students who got the dengue vaccine

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Voting 18-0, the Senate approved on 3rd and final reading the proposed P1.16-billion medical support fund for students who received the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine.

Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III  earlier urged lawmakers to pass the special fund as the DOH was “stretching its resources” to address the needs of students who got the risky dengue vaccine.

The proposed P1.16-billion fund will be used to shoulder the medical expenses and monitor the health of over 870,000 public school students who got the dengue vaccine through the government’s now-suspended immunization program.

The fund is broken down as follows:

  • P945,827,530 for Medical Assistance Program
  • P78,296,250 for the assessment and monitoring of Dengvaxia-vaccinated children
  • P70,000,000 for supplies and medicine
  • P67,586,220 for health workers to be deployed to monitor the vaccinated kids

The money will be sourced from the amount refunded to the Philippine government by vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur.

Senator Loren Legarda, who sponsored the bill as chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the Bureau of the Treasury issued a certification that the P1.16 billion for the supplemental budget was available in the National Treasury.

The House of Representatives earlier passed its version of the bill on the proposed special fund in May 2018.

The Dengvaxia controversy started in November 2017 vaccine after it released an advisory warning that its vaccine could cause a person to later develop severe dengue if he or she had not been infected by the virus prior to immunization. – Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.