SENATOR Richard J. Gordon has expressed support for the administration’s plan to form a three-man team of foreign health experts to conduct independent scientific research on the impact to health of the Dengvaxia immunization in the country.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said an independent research would establish the effects of the vaccine to the health of the children inoculated.
He added the controversial vaccine have given parents of the vaccinees sleepless nights and anguish since French manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur announced that Dengvaxia may cause severe dengue in seronegative recipients or those who had not had the disease yet prior to the inoculation.
“Hindi sila nag-exercise ng due diligence para alamin kung nagkaroon na o hindi pa ng dengue yung mga bata. Walang informed choice kaya hindi alam ngayon kung sino ang nasaksakan ng Dengvaxia na hindi pa nagka-dengue.
“The move is a step in the right direction because it will determine whether the children were seronegative when they were given an injection. The president probably took notice of the fact that if there is a way we can find out if seronegative children were given shots then we would know for sure if this was the principal cause of death.
“In that sense, we welcome and support this move to get Asian experts. I even recommended sending sample specimens from the children who died to Hawaii or Pittsburgh, where, as I had been told, they can do such testing,” he said.
With the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Department of Health (DOH) appearing to have conflicting reports on the issue, President Duterte will tap a panel of Asian experts to conduct a research and come up with a more comprehensive and independent report on the issue of whether or not Dengvaxia actually caused deaths.
“Nonetheless, as the President looks for that, the case still stands against all of the officials mentioned in the committee report for their undue haste, for the reckless manner that they sped up the procurement, for illegal procurement, reckless imprudence, for their wanton disregard for the safety of the children and for tampering with the sentinel of the government in terms of public health – the DOH, by regulatory capture,” Gordon stressed, however.
The Palace is also hoping that Congress will pass a bill allowing the use of the P1.16 billion refunded by Sanofi to help those who received Dengvaxia.
One of Gordon’s recommendations in Senate Committee Report 368 was to provide sufficient budget for monitoring – in particular sero-testing to determine who were previously seronegative – diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of all children injected with Dengvaxia.
He filed Senate Bill No. 1795 last Tuesday proposing to authorize the allocation of a portion of the P1.2-billion, refunded by Sanofi Pasteur for unused vaccines, for such.