Acosta fumes at Garin: What’s so funny about Dengvaxia-related deaths?
MANILA, Philippines — Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta has shot back at Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin for undermining the claims of deaths due to dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, asking the lawmaker what is so funny about it.
Acosta condemned recent statements from Garin — who was Department of Health (DOH) secretary when the vaccines were administered — as the latter found it funny that controversies popped up in the Philippines, but other countries using Dengvaxia had no problems.
Garin explained that the revival of the Dengvaxia issue, which came as Acosta’s PAO filed fresh cases against her and other former and incumbent DOH officials, was a mere public relations stunt by people opposing vaccines, or the so-called “anti-vaxxers.”
“Nakakatawa? ‘Pag ba may namatay tatawa ka pa? ‘Pag ba may nagreklamo na nabiktima sila pagtatawanan mo pa? Aminado ang Sanofi na hindi pwede sa hindi pa na-dengue ‘to, magkakaroon ng malubhang sakit. Aminado ang Sanofi sa FDA (Food and Drug Administration),” Acosta told reporters.
(That’s funny? If people die, can you even laugh at them? If people file complaints about being victimized, would you laugh at them? Sanofi admitted that it could not be administered to seronegative patients or those who haven’t contracted dengue, as they would develop severe ailments. Sanofi admitted that to the FDA.)
“Nakakatawa ba ‘yon? Buhay ba, nakakatawa? Kakantahan mo lang ba ‘yong patay? […] Paano, sa Pilipinas lang nagturok ng isang milyong Pilipino, labing-dalawang libong pulis. Sa Pilipinas lang ginawa ‘yan, under clinical trial phase three,” she added.
(Is that funny? Is the loss of life funny? What would you to the dead, sing for them? This did not happen in other countries, as only in the Philippines did they vaccinated over a million Filipinos and over 12,000 police officers. They did that only in the Philippines, to vaccinate under the clinical trial phase three.)
Acosta was referring to the withdrawal made by Sanofi Pasteur — Dengvaxia’s manufacturers — in 2017.
The national anti-dengue vaccination program worth P3 billion was a project commenced under former president Benigno Aquino III’s administration. More than 830,000 individuals, including children, were vaccinated with Dengvaxia under the program.
However, things turned awry when Sanofi Pasteur issued a statement saying the vaccine may cause an increased risk of hospitalization for dengue and severe dengue to individuals who have not been previously infected by the dengue virus.
After it was pulled out from the market in December 2017, PAO conducted its own investigation on deaths blamed on Dengvaxia. PAO said all bodies they examined had similar internal bleeding signs, cranial bleeding, and enlarged organs. [ac]
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.