Furious mothers confront Garin over Dengvaxia
Angry and emotional mothers of some children administered with the Dengvaxia vaccine rushed at and confronted former Health Secretary Janette Garin after the House of Representatives hearing on the P3 billion dengue immunization program on Monday.
The mothers, mostly wearing “Justice for Dengvaxia victims” black shirts, have identified themselves as members of the United Parents Against Dengvaxia (Upad) Philippines.
One of them was Felicitas Asembrado, 53, from Zamboanga City, who complained that her 11-year-old-son had been experiencing symptoms such as stomach pain, fever, headache and joint pains.
Asembrado said her son completed the three shots of Dengvaxia, the last one was given in July 2017.
“May kapitbahay ko nagsuka ng dugo, may iba rin pumunta PGH (Philippine General Hospital) at tinanggihan, may mga kapitbahay na rin akong namatay,” she said in between sobs.
“Gusto ko lang tulungan kami kung ano dapat ilunas sa mga anak namin,” she added.
Elvy Hiralde, president of Upad, said they are calling on the government to provide medical intervention for their children.
“Kailangan namin ng medical intervention, or lunas sa mga lason na nandun sa katawan ng aming mga anak. Humihingi po kami ng tulong,” she told reporters.
“Ayaw namin maipit sa mga nag-uumpugang bato, kung political agenda man ito, spare our children,” she added.
Both chambers of the Congress, as well as the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), have launched separate investigations into the anti-dengue program which was launched in 2016 during Garin’s term.
The vaccination drive was halted by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III when Sanofi bared in November 2017 that Dengvaxia could worsen symptoms of the disease for people who had not previously been infected by the virus.
Duque said the vaccine was administered to around 830,000 children, both school-based and community-based, and to another 32,000 private patients.
Sanofi Asia-Pacific head Thomas Triomphe, meanwhile, maintained that “there’s no evidence directly linking Dengvaxia to any deaths.” /je
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