Garin to DOH: Listen to real experts; make dengue vaccines available
MANILA, Philippines — Former Health Secretary Janette Garin said Thursday the Department of Health (DOH) should “listen to real experts” and make vaccines available in light of the “national dengue alert” raised all over the country.
On July 15, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III declared a “national dengue alert” as 106,630 dengue cases have been reported nationwide from January 1 to June 29, 2019. This is an 85 percent increase from the 57,564 cases reported over the same period in 2018.
Garin, now the congresswoman of the first District of Iloilo, was among those officials under the Aquino administration who faced charges in connection with the P3.5 billion Dengvaxia controversy.
Although the doctor said the spike in dengue cases was “expected” and could had been reduced by the vaccine similar to what has happened to Brazil, Garin said blaming anyone now would be useless.
“Nandyan na ‘yan. Useless to blame fake public health news. Now is the time for DOH to listen to real experts, follow international guidelines and make essential medicines, vaccines included to those who need it,” the House senior deputy minority leader said in a statement.
Garin further pointed out that these dengue outbreaks had been long predicted. In 2010, the World Health Organization has declared dengue as a disease of pandemic potential, classified as a public health emergency, according to her.
The lawmaker also explained that in immunization, “all doses initiated should be continued until the third dose to ensure benefit to the public” even if the program was stopped.
Dengvaxia, manufactured by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, was used in the mass anti-dengue vaccination program during the tail end of former President Noynoy Aquino’s term in April 2016.
However, in November 2017, Sanofi released results of its long-term follow-up study showing that Dengvaxia could cause an increased risk to those who are seronegative or not yet infected with dengue. The program was then halted by Duque.
The Commission on Audit has also flagged DOH over its P367.1-million undistributed drugs and medicines nearing its expiration dates. State auditors asked DOH to conduct judicious and meticulous procurement planning in light of this failure.
“Many career people are in offices that are not their expertise. Put them back so DOH will be efficient,” Garin commented. /jpv
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.