Once again, President Rodrigo Duterte has shown that his heart is in the right place. He has issued a clear-cut directive to all public hospitals in the country to give free treatment to all patients who received the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine. The government will foot the bill.
That alone would serve a two-fold purpose. One, there is no more excuse for public hospitals to demand any form of payment for Dengvaxia recipients brought for treatment.
While Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque has issued a similar order earlier, there were complaints over incidents where public hospitals had charged fees from patients rushed for treatment despite information that they were given Dengvaxia shots.
Two, the directive should allay the concern of poor parents over cost of treatment for their children who were inoculated with Dengvaxia vaccine. Now, they should not hesitate to bring their children to any hospital if they found any possible signs of dengue infection.
More than that, the President is mulling to get assistance of foreign clinical pathologists to help establish with rigorous scientific basis a credible and independent assessment of cause of deaths believed related to the Dengvaxia vaccine.
If warranted, the President said proper criminal charges should be filed against those responsible.
But what is even more important is the Palace’s appeal for parents to put their trust on other tried and tested vaccination programs of the DOH to keep the children safe from other infectious diseases.
It is crystal clear that the President is doing his duty as a good father who is looking after the welfare of the nation.