Garin accepts Atienza’s Dengvaxia debate dare

Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin.

By Keith Calayag

Former Health Secretary and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin appealed to officials of the government who want the public protected through immunization to not to spread lies about vaccines as she accepted a colleague’s challenge to a debate on the controversial Dengvaxia.

“Ang panawagan natin, if we are really bent and really wanting to improve vaccination coverage, let us not mouth the lies of anti-vaccers,” said Garin in an interview on Wednesday, a day after a heated debate with Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza over vaccines.

“It’s very ironic kasi narrinig mo ‘yung kaliwa’t kanan na panawagan magpabakuna tayo, let’s improve vaccine confidence, let us help DoH (Department of Health) regain the confidence of the public pero maririnig mo naman na ‘yung mga nagsasalita dun ay patuloy na inuulit-ulit yung mga statements ng anti-vaccers kagaya na lang ng mga kasinungalingan that tetanus is related to sterility and misacarriage, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) is related to autism and dengue vaccine is related to death,” she said.

“This misinformation, ito po ang nakakapilay at nakakamatay,” Garin added.

Garin also defended her move to debunk the statement of Atienza on Dengvaxia and tetanus toxoid vaccine.

Atienza claimed that tetanus toxoid vaccine which aims to protect women of child bearing age and mothers from tetanus infection allegedly caused sterility. The Manila representative
also blamed Dengvaxia and the tetanus toxoid vaccine for the public’s eroded trust to the health department and to vaccines.

“Kung ang mga salitang bibibitwan ay meron nang effect sa public health hindi po natin ito basta basta pwedeng payagan dahil ang mga salitang iyon ay sallitang nakakamatay,” she said.

During the plenary session on Wednesday, Atienza challenged Garin to prove in a debate that she did not commit an error of judgment when she allowed the implementation of Dengvaxia immunization which allegedly caused deaths of schoolchildren.

Garin accepted Atienza’s challenge.

“Anytime. Basta magdala siya ng basehan,” she said.

p: wjg