MANILA (UPDATED) - The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on third and final reading the proposed supplemental budget for those inoculated with Dengvaxia.
The final vote came down to 231 voting for the bill and no objections or abstentions.
The bill was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte, paving the way for it to be approved on third and final reading tonight.
Tapped for the supplemental budget is the entirety of the money refunded to the Philippine government by French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur, makers of the controversial anti-Dengue vaccine.
This, after the Department of Health said that its allocation of P945.8 million for medical assistance for Dengvaxia recipients would be enough to last four to five years.
Some 13 percent (P148.2 million) will be set aside for public health management, while human resource for health (HRH) deployment will have an allocation of 6 percent (P67.5 million), based on the recast budget.
Before approving the recast budget, House Appropriations Committee chair Rep. Karlo Nograles suggested swapping the allocation for Dengvaxia identification cards (IDs), which the DOH originally pegged at P45 million, and the P25 million allocation for medical supplies to be carried by nurses who will undertake monitoring of the vaccinees. These supplies will consist of basic medicine (paracetamol) and tools (thermometers).
The DOH said the Dengvaxia ID cards being earmarked in the supplemental budget will be sturdier than the Dengvaxia cards released by the agency last January.
In April 2016, the Philippines became the first country in the world to launch a mass anti-dengue inoculation program using Dengvaxia, a relatively new drug.
The program was suspended after Sanofi admitted in November 2017 that children who have never had dengue but were given Dengvaxia shots have an increased risk of a severe case and hospitalization up to the fifth year after immunization.