Duterte won’t blame Garin for Dengvaxia fiasco
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he was withholding judgment on who should be held accountable for the P3.5-billion vaccination program fiasco.
Mr. Duterte also said that the deaths linked to Dengvaxia should not be automatically blamed on the anti-dengue vaccine.
“I cannot blame anybody. I am not prepared to condemn anybody there simply because we bought that. The amount is nothing to me…any amount that could save the Filipino, especially the children,” the President said in a press briefing.
Mr. Duterte said he knew what it felt like to have one’s children infected with dengue since his son Sebastian got infected once.
“You know, I have 10 grandchildren. My God, I would… if there is anything that can save the lives of anyone of them or any Filipino for that matter, considering my position, I will order the implementation,” he said.
“I am not prepared to pass judgment. I can only inquire and hope that everything will give us the truth because anything here in this planet requires truth,” he said.
The government stopped the P3.5-billion vaccination program after Sanofi Pasteur, the maker of Dengvaxia, said that those who had never been afflicted with dengue and who received the vaccine were at risk of getting infected with severe dengue.
The President said Congress could look into the matter or have an independent body investigate it.
“I am not an expert and I do not assume that those deaths are already automatically connected with the side or toxic effects of… unless there is an investigation and the person whom we are trying to attribute the responsibility is given the chance to be heard and to air their findings in public,” he said.
Mr. Duterte said he would not blame former Health Secretary Janette Garin because she apparently implemented the program “in good faith.”
“If you really think in good faith that you are doing the right thing, nobody but nobody can question you except your conscience,” he said.
The President also noted that he had not heard anything form Davao about anyone dying of severe dengue after being vaccinated with Dengvaxia.
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