Saturday August 18, 2018

House panel approves budget for Dengvaxia recipients

MANILA. In this file photo, a boy holds up a card showing his immunization record. (File Photo)

THE House appropriations committee has approved the bill seeking to utilize a P1.16-billion fund for assistance to nearly 900,000 recipients of Dengvaxia vaccine.

The fund, sourced from the refund made by vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur, will go to the following as proposed by the Department of Health and as approved by the said committee:

  • P945,827,530 - medical Assistance for admitted patients and outpatients;
  • P78,296,250 - assessment and monitoring of Dengvaxia vaccinees;
  • P70,000,000 - supplies and medicine; and
  • P67,586,220 - human resource for health deployment.
The DOH earlier proposed the inclusion of a P270-million budget for medical kits to contain a thermometer, a mosquito repellant and two bottles of multivitamins but the House panel disapproved this.

The panel's chair, Davao City 1st district Representative Karlo Nograles, ordered the DOH to focus instead on profiling in order to pinpoint the seronegative patients, or individuals who had not contracted the dengue virus prior to immunization.

DOH Undersecretary Enrique Domingo assured the parents during the hearing Tuesday, May 22, that any illnesses being experienced by Dengvaxia vaccinees will be covered by the supplemental budget.

"Any sickness from mild to catastrophic will be covered," he said.

Domingo hoped the bill would be approved by the House by May 30.

According to Domingo, President Rodrigo Duterte has already certified the bill as urgent. This means that the Congress can fast track its passage.

Domingo said that in the meantime the DOH can assist the vaccinees financially using its "limited" medical assistance fund for children vaccinated with Dengvaxia. (SunStar Philippines)