CONGRESSMEN are considering creating a P500-million fund that will cover damage claims in case people get sick from coronavirus vaccine shots.

The fund will cover any adverse effects and ensure that the government’s vaccination program goes smoothly, Quirino Rep. Junie E. Cua said in his sponsorship speech on Wednesday.

The clause was inserted in House Bill 8648, which will also allow local governments to bypass procurement rules in the emergency purchase of vaccines.

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Jose Maria Clemente “Joey” S. Salceda  said the government should prioritize rolling out its vaccination program if it plans to further ease the general lockdown in Metro Manila.

Economic output in the capital region could grow by as much as 2.3% this year once it shifts to a modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), he said in a statement.

“That’s a very generous estimate that considers no sudden shifts back to a general community quarantine (GCQ), or no sudden spikes in infections,” Mr. Salceda said.

“The economic impact is probably closer to between 0.5% and 1.4%, which is not nothing, but it can be better with a more ambitious vaccination plan,” he added.

Mr. Salceda’s recommendation came after the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) this week sought to ease lockdown to fast-track economic recovery. — Gillian M. Cortez