Garin: Dengue outbreak could have been prevented by Dengvaxia vaccination drive
MANILA, Philippines — Former Health Secretary and now Iloilo 1st District Representative Janette Garin on Wednesday said the recent dengue outbreak in the country could have been prevented by the discontinued Dengvaxia vaccination drive.
Garin made the remark in a press conference following Health Sec. Francisco Duque III’s declaration of a “national dengue alert” last July 15. Some 106,630 dengue cases have been reported nationwide from January 1 to June 29, 2019, which was an 85 percent increase from the 57,564 cases reported over the same period in 2018.
“Because hindi sinasabi ni Sec. Duque ‘yung paulit-uli na target ng bakuna. Hindi naman ibig sabihin na komo may dengue vaccine, wala nang magkakasakit… The intention of the vaccination program is to reduce hospitalization by 80 percent and to reduce the severity by 93 percent,” Garin, a doctor, explained.
“Ibig sabihin may magkakasakit pa rin ng dengue kapareho sa Brazil pero ‘yung nagkakasakit ng dengue mild na lang, konting sinat, ‘yung iba nadadala sa ospital,” she added.
Garin also dared Duque to display “political will” and allow the vaccination drive to continue.
“Private doctors and private patients who are willing to spend and save the lives of their children, and their families should be allowed to do so,” the lawmaker said.
Dengvaxia, a vaccine manufactured by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, was used in the mass anti-dengue vaccination program during the tail end of the administration of then President Benigno Aquino III in April 2016.
Garin was Health Secretary at that time. She was among those officials under the Aquino administration who faced charges in connection with the P3.5 billion Dengvaxia controversy.
However, in November 2017, Sanofi released results of its long-term follow-up study which showed that Dengvaxia could cause an increased risk to those who are seronegative or not yet infected with dengue. The program was then ordered stopped by Duque.
Garin earlier called on the Department of Health to “listen to real experts” and “follow international guidelines and make essential medicines.” /muf
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