Filipino doctors urge PAO to stop spreading ‘fake news’ on Dengvaxia
A group of Filipino doctors on Thursday asked again the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to stop spreading unproven claims about the Dengvaxia vaccine amid the public’s diminishing trust in the safety of other vaccines and the outbreak of life-threatening diseases.
“We call for a halt to the continuous spread of unproven claims of deaths caused by the dengue vaccine by the same unqualified but noisy people who are largely responsible for the fall in vaccine confidence in the country,” the Doctors for Truth and Public Welfare said in a statement.
The group was referring to PAO chief Atty. Persida Rueda-Acosta and PAO Forensics chief Erwin Erfe.
The group noted that the trust and confidence of Filipinos on the safety of vaccines plummeted to 32 percent from 93 percent. It also pointed out the rise of measles incidents by 350 percent and Rubella by more than 1,000 percent.
“Children are needlessly suffering and dying because of the fear mongering and misinformation that has been allowed to propagate in little over a year. We are headed for epidemics of epic proportion of otherwise preventable diseases,” the group said.
The group slammed Erfe for spreading falsehood on social media about the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, claiming that it causes autism.
“Indeed, Dr. Erwin Erfe and Atty. Persida Acosta should be held accountable for the thousands of disabilities and deaths that could have been, and could yet be avoided, were it not for their irresponsible behavior,” the group said.
The Doctors for Truth and Public Welfare called on the government, especially the Department of Health (DOH), to ask true vaccine experts to speak out the truth in order to counter all the disinformation reaching the public.
The doctors also urged the DOH to get a reputable third party to perform an unbiased and scientific assessment of the results of the initial group of children who received the Dengvaxia vaccine and to publish its results to dispel “unfounded” fears.
They also called on various branches of government to join forces in promoting vaccinations and conduct a massive information drive, featuring experts, so that the truth will prevail. /jpv
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