By Ben R. Rosario
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading the proposed R1.16-billion supplemental budget to provide assistance for Dengvaxia recipients.
With all 231 congressmen present in Tuesday’s session voting in the affirmative, the House approved House Bill No. 7449 that consolidated legislative proposals of House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez and Reps. Alfred Vargas (PDP-Laban, Quezon City), Johnny Pimentel (PDP-Laban, Surigao del Sur), and Aurelio Gonzales (NP, Pampanga), among others.
HB 7449 mandates that the amount of P1,161,710,000 be exclusively spent for programs and projects of the Department of Health that will deal on medical issues that might affect over 800,000 persons, mostly schoolchildren, who were injected with Dengvaxia, supposedly an anti-dengue vaccine.
The amount represent the money that French-firm Sanofi Pasteur, maker of Dengvaxia, returned to the government through its local distributor, Zuellig Pharma.
Vargas and Gonzales said the reallocation of the amount given by Sanofi Pasteur will help guarantee that ill-effect of the vaccine to the health of schoolchildren will be medically addressed.
Under the bill, a total of P945,828,000 will be allocated for the medical assistance program for Dengvaxia vaccinees, whether they are confined or not.
A total of P148,296,000 will be spent for the public health management assessment and monitoring of persons who received Dengvaxia shots. This will include the acquisition of supplies and medicines of not more than P25 million.
The remaining P67,586,000 will fund the human resources required for health deployment.
The bill also provides that the DoH will manage the funds and will issue the corresponding guidelines for the proper implementation of the measure.