Following recent concerns that the private sector is not being allowed to procure COVID-19 vaccines, the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF) jointly clarify that private sector companies ARE ALLOWED to procure vaccines, provided that they enter into tripartite agreements with the Philippine National Government and the vaccine manufacturers.

Pursuant to RA 11525 or the “COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021”, recently passed by the Senate and lower house, private companies and Local Government Units are authorized to procure COVID-19 vaccines which have been given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration, in cooperation with the DOH and the NTF through a tripartite agreement.

Such requirement for a tripartite agreement is specified for three reasons: (1) manufacturers of available COVID-19 vaccines require that indemnification be covered by the national government before finalizing any procurement deals, (2) it is the National Government that will shoulder the cost of adverse effects, and (3) available vaccines are are only provided EUA, which means that said vaccines cannot be sold commercially, and therefore administration must be aligned with the prioritization framework employed by the National Government.

Provided that RA 11525 mandates the creation of a Php 500 million COVID-19 National Vaccine Indemnity Fund to compensate all individuals who might experience AEFI from the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, and given the limited supply of vaccines necessitating strict congruence of vaccination with the approved prioritization framework, it is only proper that the National Government be involved in the vaccine procurement transactions of the private sector.