DOH doctor indicted over Dengvaxia ready to answer charges
MANILA, Philippines — One of the doctors indicted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for reckless imprudence over deaths linked to the Dengvaxia vaccine expressed readiness to answer the charges against him, saying he is confident that he will be vindicated.
In a statement on Monday, Dr. Julius Lecciones said that while he is disappointed with DOJ’s resolution to indict him and several others, he said he respects it.
“I fully believe in the integrity of our legal processes and the judicial system where we could be objectively heard and fairly defend ourselves. I am ready to answer these charges in a court of law, rather than the court of public opinion,” he said.
“I am confident that I will be fully vindicated in the competent court of law,” he added.
With the controversy that surrounds the Dengvaxia vaccine, Lecciones said he is concerned “with the erosion of public trust in vaccination” and “public health mass intervention proven to save lives” due to the “misinformation that characterized the allegations in social media.”
“As a public official, I lament the chilling effect it will have on government decision-makers who will be more concerned about whether cases might be filed against them rather than implementing interventions with dispatch for emergent public health threats,” he added.
Lecciones argued that the World Health Organization (WHO) “maintains that the dengue vaccine is safe.”
Earlier, the DOJ indicted former DOH Secretary Janette Garin and several others for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide for the deaths of school children linked to the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.
In 2016, the DOH launched its anti-dengue inoculation drive and administered Dengvaxia vaccine to over 830,000 adults and children in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and Cebu under the program.
Around a year later, French manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur issued a statement saying Dengvaxia vaccine may increase the risk of severe dengue in patients who received it without previous exposure to the mosquito-borne disease. /ee
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