PAO, VACC to ask P4M for kin of kid who allegedly died due to Dengvaxia
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) are seeking around P4 million in damages in a civil case they would file this Monday at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court over the controversial anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia.
Also, the groups would later file an administrative case at the Office of the President against those who spearheaded the botched anti-dengue immunization program of the government.
The civil case is being filed on behalf of the family of 10-year-old Angielica Pestilos, who died in December 2017 or months after receiving the dengue vaccine.
In a press conference, Dr. Erwin Erfe, forensic expert of PAO, said that Pestilos had no previous history of dengue infection but that she did have a pre-existing disease, lupus, which should have made her unqualified from receiving the vaccination.
After examining Pestilos’ body, Erfe concluded that she had died from a viscerotropic-like disease that developed after she was injected with Dengvaxia.
Pestilos is one of 15 children that have been autopsied by PAO in relation to Dengvaxia. The bodies of another six children will follow this week, despite calls from a group of doctors, including former Health Secretary Esperanza Cabral, for the Department of Justice to stop the autopsies conducted by PAO.
VACC lawyer Ferdinand Topacio accused Sanofi Pasteur, the French pharmaceutical company that manufactured the vaccine, of paying for a coordinated public relations effort that involved the doctors group and Senator JV Ejercito, who also called for PAO to stop its autopsies.
Meanwhile, PAO chief Persida Acosta challenged Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque to provide free medicine and vitamins to the families of the 827,000 schoolchildren that had been injected with Dengvaxia.
“Help solve the problem, don’t join in on the cover-up,” Acosta said. “Why would we stop [the autopsies]? That’s obstruction of justice.” /kga
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