President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs into law the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Act of 2021 at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on February 26, 2021. The said law would expedite the procurement and administration of vaccines for the protection against COVID-19. It also covers the creation of an indemnity fund to cover compensation for those who would experience serious adverse effects to the vaccine. (MNS photo)

MANILA, Feb 27 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday signed into law a measure that aims to fast-track the administration of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccines and establish a PHP500-million indemnification fund.

Malacañang has yet to release a copy of the newly-signed law.

The signing came after Congress no longer convened a bicameral conference committee since Senate Bill 2057 or the proposed Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act passed by the Senate on Feb. 23 was adopted by the House of Representatives on the same day.

The law tasks the Department of Health and the National Task Force Against Covid-19 to supervise the negotiated purchase of Covid-19 vaccines, as well as the needed supplies and services for their storage, transport, and distribution.

It also authorizes local government units (LGUs) to procure Covid-19 vaccines and needed supplies and services.

Private firms, the law states, are also allowed to purchase vaccines, subject to similar restrictions and conditions set for LGUs and only for their sole and exclusive use.

The Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act also provides that the procurement, importation, donation, storage, transport, deployment, and administration of Covid-19 vaccines will be exempted from customs duties, value-added tax, excise tax, and other fees.

Under the law, a PHP500-million indemnity fund will also be created for any person who experiences adverse effects after getting inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine.

The fund will be sourced from the 2021 national budget’s Contingent Fund and administered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (MNS)

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