Press Release
January 22, 2021

Villanueva bats for full PhilHealth coverage for those who might develop adverse side effects from COVID-19 vaccine jabs

The top official of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) assured Senator Joel Villanueva that the state insurer intends to foot the bill of any member who would develop adverse side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine.

Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, insisted on the PhilHealth coverage for those who would experience adverse side effects from the vaccine, saying that preparing such a safety net would definitely "boost vaccination acceptance."

"Kung libre po ang bakuna, libre din dapat ang pagpapagamot ng anumang adverse side effect nito. Saklaw rin po dapat ng universal health insurance ang pagpapabakuna, para wala na talagang dahilan hindi magpabakuna," Villanueva said.

Replying to Villanueva's remarks, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the PhilHealth would study the proposal.

Health authorities said it planned to inoculate 50 to 70 million Filipinos to stop the virus on its tracks and build herd immunity.

Villanueva said PhilHealth shouldering the treatment for post-vaccination issues would "cover all the bases needed for successful vaccination plan."

"Dito na po papasok ang PhilHealth para kasama ang mga pribadong ospital, para walang pong out-of-pocket expense para sa mga kababayan natin na tatakbo sa kanila. Kung patuloy na may pag-aalinlangan ang ating mamamayan, sigurado pong marami ang hindi magpapaturok," Villanueva said, citing a recent survey that showed that about 47% of Filipinos do not want to be vaccinated, while 21% remained undecided

"Ang inaaalala po natin, kung may mga allergy halimbawa, at respiratory distress ang manifestation nito, baka i-charge po ito doon sa existing case rates na may ceiling, at lalabas pa na may out-of-pocket expense ang nabakunahan," he said. "Huwag naman po sana umabot sa ganoon ang magiging sitwasyon ng ating mga kababayan. We need this 'comfort guarantee' from the government to encourage people to get vaccine jabs."

Villanueva also sought an update from the IATF to on his call for creating a list of essential workers to be included in the vaccination program. Deputy Chief Implementer Vince Dizon replied that the body is still coordinating with the labor and trade departments to help determine the specific workers to be included in the inoculation drive.

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