- Former President Aquino’s order to undertake a mass vaccination program using the faulty Dengvaxia vaccine is feared to have exposed at least 70,000 vaccinated children to life-threatening risks.
- During the joint hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon and health committees on the Dengvaxia controversy, the timeline of the approval of the said program was discussed.
- Former health secretary Ubial described the transaction as a “disastrous mix of health and politics."
The faulty Dengvaxia mass vaccination ordered by Aquino may have put risk not only to 70,000 vaccinated children but also to future generation of Filipinos who are likely to have malformations and other birth defects through a mosquito caused disease Zika according to a report of Manila Times.
Warnings were issued by experts and World Health Organization in 2015 regarding the possible side effect of Dengvaxia. It was only November 29 this year did Sanofi issue a warning that its Dengvaxia might indeed result in severe dengue if administered to those who had not contracted the disease before.
KAMI learned about this news from Philstar Global.
Aquino directed the health, budget, education, and the interior and local governments—to order the Dengvaxia despite these warnings.
Because the program was rushed, the requirements set by the World Health Organization were not followed. Before administering the mass vaccination, the targeted area should have at least 50% exposure to dengue. This is one of the listed requirements by WHO.
There is even no complete database of children injected with Dengvaxia making it hard to monitor.
Senators present in the hearing clarified that there is nothing illegal with Aquino's decision but it clearly showed his involvement in the purchase of Dengvaxia.
“We do not conduct vaccination programs during elections as this would be tainted as a hidden agenda of somebody,” said former health secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial.
the Duterte administration’s first DOH chief who had resisted the program.
Arbial is the first DOH chief under Duterte administration who had resisted the program.
“Mixing politics and health will lead to disaster,” she said.
The former secretary then gave in as some of the lawmakers and officials said she could be sued for not carrying out a paid contract.
Arbial also said she was glad that she “dilly-dallied” and “flip-flopped” minimizing the effect of the program especially to schoolchildren.
The chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee Senator Richard Gordon discussed about the timeline of the approval of the said program.
Gordon questioned why they rushed the releasing of funds.
He also said that the budget for the vaccine was way bigger than allocations of the 7 existing vaccination programs in the country.
According to homas Triomphe, Sanofi vice president and head of its Asia-Pacific division, Dengvaxia was a result of over 20 years of rigorous research and development involving more than 40,000 individuals in 15 countries.
He also said there had not been reported casualty linked to the vaccine and that they continue to monitor all vaccinations worldwide where the vaccine is used.
“To permanently remove the vaccine from the Philippine market, on the basis only of the reported 0.02 percent increased risk of getting traditionally known symptoms, would be regression in the country’s approach to solving a major public health concern and a disservice to the Filipino people,” he said.
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