PAO not to be blamed for rise in measles cases, says Acosta
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta said the refusal of parents to have their children vaccinated, which led to a rise in measles cases, should not be blamed on PAO’s investigation of the alleged Dengvaxia-related deaths.
“Dengvaxia lang po ang pinag-uusapan, ‘yong ibang bakuna hindi po kami laban dyan,” Acosta said in a press conference on Friday.
“Ako daw po ang dahilan ng takot ng mga tao, ako daw ang sumira ng healthcare. Excuse me, hindi po ako ang nagmanufacture ng Dengvaxia,” she added.
Acosta added that she and her children have undergone complete vaccination programs.
“Wala po kaming problema sa ibang bakuna. Ang naging problema po itong mass vaccination (ng Dengvaxia), na indiscriminate, walang screening, blood test, lab tests, o urinalysis man lang,” Acosta said.
In a previous report, the Department of Health (DOH) said the measles outbreak in Zamboanga, Davao, and Taguig can be attributed to the public health scare from the scrapped national dengue vaccination program.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque said vaccination coverage rates dropped to 60 percent in March from the average 85 to 90 percent.
In February, former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral asked PAO to stop its investigation into the Dengvaxia issue as it reportedly triggered panic among parents.
As to why the Philippines is the only country to pull-out the Dengvaxia vaccine, Acosta said the anti-dengue vaccination programs done in other countries such as Brazil and Mexico were assisted by doctors — as compared to the Philippines where only healthcare workers administered the vaccines.
“Sa Brazil at Mexico, doctor-assisted, dito sa atin hindi, mga rural health workers lang ang nagturok,” Acosta said.
“Wala pong prior profiling man lang, at ‘yong ibang magulang wala pong consent, tapos ‘yong iba wala pong Dengvaxia card,” she added. /muf
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