Supplemental budget sought to disburse P1.16-B Dengvaxia refund
The departments of Budget and Management as well as Health will seek Congress’ approval of the release of P1.16 billion this year for the medical expenses of those injected with the controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno told reporters Wednesday that the proposed supplemental budget for 2018 will disburse the refund from Sanofi Pasteur’s local distributor Zuellig Pharma, which was already remitted to the Bureau of the Treasury last month.
The refund covered the value of unused vaccines after the government stopped the anti-dengue vaccination program following reports on alleged deaths due to the vaccine, Diokno said.
The Budget chief said that the assistance for Dengvaxia vaccinees program will cover expenses for hospitalization as well as outpatient care for about 870,000 recipients.
The DBM estimated a cost of P768.9 million for medical assistance to indigent patients who may either be confined or out-patient in government hospitals.
The program will also deploy so-called nurse-health education and promotion officers (HEPOs) as well as distribute medical kits to vaccinees.
The government will allot P131.8 million for the salary, transportation and communications allowances of 325 HEPOs to be deployed starting March this year until December.
The medical kits, meanwhile, will cost P261 million.
“The outpatient care package, worth P500 per vaccinee, includes a complete blood count, NS1 antigen test, urinalysis, medications and other laboratory tests as needed. Meanwhile, the medical kits, worth P300 per vaccinee, includes one thermometer, one mosquito repellent, two bottles of multivitamins, and one package bag,” the DBM said in a statement.
Diokno said that they expect the bill to be filed when Congress resumes sessions after their Holy Week break in May.
“This is a non-controversial request. I think everybody will be in favor of this to address this problem. So I would say that before they adjourn, they will meet sometime in May, this bill will be filed,” Diokno said.
The Budget chief said that the student-beneficiaries will mostly likely come from the National Capital Region as well as Regions 3 and 4A, where the Aquino administration implemented the vaccination program. /je
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