Ex-President Aquino urged to speak up on anti-dengue vaccine controversy
It would be better if former President Benigno S. Aquino III would speak up and air his side especially after a report alleged that he met with the manufacturers of the controversial anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, Senator JV Ejercito said on Thursday.
“With the current issue right now, if possible former President Aquino can just speak about yung meetings with Sanofi Pasteur officials, mas maganda,” Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography, told reporters.
“Hindi naman sa pinagbibintangan natin sya ‘no,” he added.
Last Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) suspended its anti-dengue vaccination drive after French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur announced that its Dengvaxia vaccine “could lead to more severe symptoms for people who had not previously been infected” by Dengue virus, and that a new study confirmed its benefits for “those who had prior infection.”
“Kasi nga sa init ng issue ngayon hindi maiwas na pag-iisipan bakit prior to procurement nagkaroon ng 2 meetings. Baka naman coincidence, pero mas maganda sya nalang mag-explain,” Ejercito said.
The P3.5 billion anti-dengue immunization program was launched in 2016 under the leadership of former Health Secretary Janette Garin, and was administered to around 700,000 children in areas with high prevalence of dengue. It was continued by the Duterte administration until it was halted last week.
Ejercito’s committee, jointly with the Senate Blue Ribbon panel, is slated to conduct an inquiry on the issue on Monday, December 11.
According to Ejercito, among other issues to be tackled in the hearing would include questions on why the program seemed to have been done in haste, as well as the role of Aquino and Garin in the purchase of the anti-dengue vaccines. /kga
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