Philippines signs indemnity agreement with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers
Illustration file photo taken on Nov. 23, 2020 showing a bottle reading "Vaccine COVID-19" and a syringe next to the Pfizer and BioNtech logos.
AFP/Joel Saget

Philippines signs indemnity agreement with COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers

(Philstar.com) - February 17, 2021 - 12:29pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has signed Indemnification Agreements with drugmakers Pfizer and AstraZeneca under the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez disclosed Wednesday. 

Once signed, an indemnification agreement "holds a business or company harmless" in case of unexpected adverse events.

Speaking at the Laging Handa briefing Wednesday, Galvez, who also serves as the chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19, said that manufacturers were concerned with the country's previous experiences with the Dengvaxia vaccine.

"All of the manufacturers, they are requiring an indemnity agreement in all the contracts we're signing. That's included there, non-disclosure and indemnity," the country's vaccination chief said in mixed Filipino and English. 

"So for all of the vaccines, not just the COVAX, the indemnification clause is really required...They're still contemplating what the final mutual agreement will be [with regards to] indemnification," he also said, adding that these negotiations were the source of the latest delay. 

Galvez added that the Philippines was talking to other foreign countries, including the United Kingdom, China, Russia, India for faster delivery of COVID-19 vaccines

Earlier, the Food and Drug Administration also disclosed that the national government is establishing a similar indemnity fund for those who will be inoculated primarily because the COVID-19 vaccines are still underdeveloped.

FDA chief Eric Domingo added that in exchange for this, the vaccine companies have asked to be free of responsibility for adverse reactions or side effects.

READ: How the Dengvaxia scare helped erode decades of public trust in vaccines

A 2018 study of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine noted that the country’s “highly-politicized response” to the reported risks posed by Dengvaxia has eroded overall public trust in immunization.

As of the health department's latest case bulletin issued Tuesday afternoon, exactly 552,246 coronavirus cases have been recorded in the country since the virus first emerged in December 2019. 

"From what we see, our agreement with Pfizer will most likely push through," Galvez also said when asked what would happen if the US drugmaker did not sign the indemnity agreement. 

He also assured the public that the deal was not endangered by the latest discussions on indemnification. 

— Franco Luna with a report from The STAR

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: February 25, 2021 - 12:05pm

The national government has so far secured two official deals for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the Philippines, one with Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac and another with the Serum Institute of India.

Watch this space for bite-sized developments on the vaccines in the Philippines. (Main image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash)

February 25, 2021 - 12:05pm

The 600,000 donated doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive on Sunday, February 28, the Palace says.

February 24, 2021 - 8:51am

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca says its EU supply chains would only be able to deliver half of an expected supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the bloc in the second quarter — but that it would look to make up the shortfall from elsewhere.

A spokesman for the British drugs group tells AFP AstraZeneca was "working to increase productivity in its EU supply chain" and would use its "global capability in order to achieve delivery of 180 million doses to the EU in the second quarter". 

"Approximately half of the expected volume is due to come from the EU supply chain" while the remainder would come from its international supply network, he adds. —  AFP

February 23, 2021 - 9:52pm

Special envoy to China Mon Tulfo, who is also a columnist, says on ONE News, that he and other government officials were vaccinated with smuggled and unauthorized Sinopharm jabs.

Tulfo said he did not use his position as special envoy to get the Sinopharm doeses. "I just got hold of the vaccine from a friend who smuggled it into the country," he says on ONE News' "The Chiefs".

He says that other government officials also received the smuggled vaccine, "I just cant give their names," he says in Filipino.

He adds that others who received the smuggled vaccines were "Cabinet-level" officials and at least one senator.

February 22, 2021 - 4:28pm

The House of Representatives has passed the COVID-19 Vaccination Program bill on second reading.

A provision of the bill provides funding to cover expenses for people who have adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines. The House bill creates a P500-million indemnity fund for this. A previous verison of the bill did not specify the amount of funding. 

Since the bill has been certified urgent, the House may dispense with the "three-day rule" and pass it on third and final on the same day. 

February 22, 2021 - 12:04pm

The country's Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for the coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese firm Sinovac.

FDA Director General Eric Domingo says the Chinese vaccine can be used among clinically healthy individuals aged 18 to 59 years. However, it is not recommended for use among healthcare workers.

"The use of Sinovac vaccine on health workers is not recommended as it has 50.4% efficacy rate for this group," Domingo says. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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