DOH: PhilHealth to cover those who experience COVID-19 vaccine side effects


Posted at Feb 13 2021 06:05 PM

Pharmacy manager Larren Suh prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, US, Dec. 16, 2020. Craig F. Walker, Pool/Reuters

MANILA—The Department of Health assured that state health insurance firm Philippine Health Insurance Corp. will shoulder medical expenses of patients who experience adverse effects after they receive the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine. 

In a press briefing Saturday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said costs are covered by PhilHealth’s existing case rates, as some people have expressed concern over allergic reactions that could be caused by the vaccines. 

"Actually, they are going to use the existing case rates. Itong existing case rates kasi natin kapag, halimbawa, may mga adverse reactions tapos kailangan ma-ospital ng isang tao, papasok iyon doon and they are covered and merong existing funds ang PhilHealth for 2021 for these case rates na ito, so meron po,” Vergeire said in a public press briefing. 

(These existing case rates will cover, for example, people who experience adverse reactions and require hospitalization. They are covered and PhilHealth has the existing funds in 2021 for these case rates.) 

During a Senate hearing, Health chief Francisco Duque III earlier floated the idea of carrying indemnification expenses of COVID-19 vaccine recipients. 

The suggestion was rooted in a discussion in the Senate finance committee, where it was proposed that indemnification funds should be given to those who experience adverse vaccine effects. 

The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from the COVAX facility of the World Health Organization are expected to arrive this month, and have been set aside for frontliners in COVID-19 referral hospitals, particularly in Metro Manila, which was touted by OCTA Research as the country's virus epicenter. 

Such referral hospitals, which include the Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, among others, have been gearing up for the inoculation drive, organizing information campaigns and simulations for employees who will be vaccinated to quell fears over adverse reactions and convince them to participate. 

-- Report from Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News