No indemnification deal for Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine - Palace

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 22 2021 05:12 PM

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The Philippines did not sign an indemnification deal for the COVID-19 vaccine of Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, Malacañang said on Monday. 

An indemnification agreement shields vaccine makers from legal claims stemming from their emergency use. 

Asked if authorities signed such a deal with Sinovac, Palace spokesman Roque said, "No." 

He said Congress was set to pass a bill granting indemnity to vaccine makers and establishing a fund to pay claims for damages in the event of adverse effects from the inoculations. 

"The law is applicable to all vaccines," he told reporters in a televised briefing.

The Philippines expects the arrival this week of 600,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine that China would donate. The arrival of these jabs, initially due on Tuesday, was delayed due to the lack of emergency use authorization that was only granted earlier Monday.

The country has signed an indemnity deal required to get COVID-19 vaccines from US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and United Kingdom's AstraZeneca under the COVAX Facility. But a separate indemnification agreement with Pfizer has to be signed as well, according to the World Health Organization.

The Philippines, which has the second highest of coronavirus infections and deaths in Southeast Asia, has yet to begin its immunization campaign.

It was banking on 117,000 Pfizer-BioNTech shots secured through the international vaccine-sharing facility COVAX to kick off its vaccine program. 

However, the unresolved question of who would pay for claims for damages in the event of adverse effects from the inoculations has delayed the delivery. — With a report from Reuters