Garin files new charges vs Ubial over Dengvaxia mess
Former Health Secretary Janette Garin has filed charges of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide against her successor, Paulyn Ubial, in connection with the Dengvaxia vaccine mess.
In her complaint-affidavit filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday, Garin said Ubial’s decision to expand the dengue immunization program from a school-based program to a community-based project contributed to the alleged deaths of immunized children.
Garin noted that the shift to community-based immunization was not based on the globally espoused recommendation for school-based immunization, weakening the screening and monitoring mechanisms of the program.
“Community-based immunization is prone to abuse by local politicians who use it as a political tool to facilitate access to free vaccines for their constituents who are unqualified,” Garin said.
Ubial’s decision had no basis as the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends school-based immunization for recipients who are of school age, considering the advantages of better monitoring, better compliance, and better screening, Garin added.
The former health chief also accused Ubial of relaxing the protocol on securing prior consent by authorizing immunization on an “implied consent” basis.
“Sec. Ubial considered as implied consent the mere act of a parent bringing his or her child in the community center for immunization, even without a written consent from the parents,” Garin wrote in her complaint.
Despite this, Garin said her successor allowed the program to continue for more than a year, issued Philippine National Drug Formulary (PNDF) exemptions, expanded the program to Region 7, expanded it to cover the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and issued orders to implement it to three more regions.
Last February, Garin and her husband, Iloilo Rep. Oscar Garin Jr., filed separate libel complaints against Ubial in relation to the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy.
Ubial had dismissed the libel cases as mere harassment meant to stop her from further testifying in a Senate inquiry over the Dengvaxia issue.
Ubial, during the probe, pointed to Garin as the one who fully implemented the Department of Health (DOH) plan to acquire the anti-dengue vaccine and administer it to hundreds of thousands of children nationwide.
The administration of Dengvaxia vaccine to children began during the term of President Benigno Aquino III.
It was halted by the current administration following Sanofi’s admission that the vaccine should only be given to those who have already contracted dengue because the illness may worsen in recipients who have no history of the disease.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.