Pharmacists and midwives may be tapped to administer COVID-19 vaccines in the country under Republic Act No. 11525 signed by President Duterte.
The new law, also known as “COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021,” included a provision on licensed pharmacists and midwives as “vaccinators.” These health professionals must be trained by the Department of Health (DOH) for the government’s COVID-19 immunization drive.
The government earlier disclosed plan to vaccinate up to 70 million people this year in a bid to reach herd immunity against the new coronavirus disease.
“Notwithstanding the provision of Section 4 (g) of Republic Act No. 10918, otherwise known as the ‘Philippine Pharmacy Act’, and Section 23 of Republic Act No. 7392 otherwise known as the ‘Philippine Midwifery Act of 1992’ and in furtherance of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, licensed pharmacists and midwives who are duly trained by the DOH may administer COVID-19 vaccines,” the law read.
The COVID-19 vaccines must be registered with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or possess an emergency use authorization (EUA), according to RA 11525.
Section 4 (g) of the country’s pharmacy law refers to the administration of FDA-approved vaccines provided pharmacists undergo training on vaccine administration and management of adverse impact. They must also hold a certificate of training issued by an institution duly accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
Under the country’s midwivery law, the practice of midwivery covers not only providing services related to supervision care of women during pregnancy and deliveries but also health education of the patient, family and community; and primary health care services in the community including giving immunization.
The health department earlier backed the recommendations to pharmacists and midwives to boost the ranks of vaccinators in the country.
RA 11525, signed by the President on Feb. 26, also included the creation of a P500-million COVID-19 National Vaccine Indemnity Fund that will be administered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
The same law provides “immunity from liability” of public officials and employees, contractors, manufacturers, volunteers, and representatives of private entities involved in the vaccination program in case of claims from vaccine administration or use except arising from “willful misconduct and gross negligence.”
Some vaccine makers earlier sought legal protection from any lawsuit in case a person suffers adverse side effects after taking the COVID-19 shot. The indemnity requirement resulted in the delay in the delivery of the Pfizer vaccines under the COVAX facility to the country.