Janette Garin pleads not guilty in homicide case involving Dengvaxia
MANILA, Philippines — Former Health Secretary and current Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin has pleaded not guilty to a criminal case filed by the Public Attorneys’ Office (PAO).
Garin is facing a case for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide over the deaths of children inoculated with Dengvaxia vaccine during her term as health secretary in 2016.
The arraignment certificate from the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 107, which has jurisdiction over the case, showed Garin’s arraignment was last July 7.
The case is set for a three times a week hearing starting August 1.
Dengvaxia is a vaccine that protects children from dengue.
Previous administrations launched an anti-dengue drive encouraging children to get the vaccine. However, deaths have been attributed to the vaccine, which led to the filing of several complaints before the Department of Justice.
Aside from Garin, PAO also filed several complaints against former and incumbent health officials responsible for the government’s Dengvaxia vaccine campaign to combat dengue. Also included in PAO’s case are officers Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur.
Some of the complaints are still pending before the DOJ.
Recently, the country has been experiencing a rapid increase in dengue cases, with 15 out of 17 regions breaching the epidemic threshold.
READ: Dengue epidemic in 15 regions above threshold: ‘It is worrisome,’ says DOH
In an interview on CNN Philippines last Wednesday, Garin called on the government to reconsider its decision to revoke Dengvaxia’s certificate of product registration (CPR).
In 2017, Sanofi said that the vaccine poses a risk to those inoculated but were not previously infected by dengue.
But Garin said, following Sanofi’s findings, “there was .003 or 001 percent increased risk for severe dengue and additional one day of hospitalization for those who got a Dengvaxia vaccine and are yet to be infected with dengue. But no one died.”
She added that there was a 90 percent reduction in deaths due to dengue and an 83 percent reduction in the number of severe cases.
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