June 19, 2018, 11:35 pm
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PAO: Garin warned of Dengvaxia harm

FORMER Health Secretary Janette Garin was informed by scientists, academicians, and clinicians of possible risks from the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia even before the Aquino government implemented the mass vaccination program in April 2016, according to the Public Attorney’s Office headed by Persida Rueda Acosta.

PAO yesterday submitted to the Department of Justice what it said was a letter of the scientists to Garin dated March 27, 2016.

The DOJ is hearing criminal complaints filed by parents of children who were recipients of the vaccine.

Garin was not in the hearing.

Garin was ordered to attend the preliminary investigation on June 25, together with current Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, other health officials, officials of the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and executives of Sanofi Pasteur and Zuellig Pharma Corporation.

Acosta said the letter, copies of which were provided to media, proves that Garin is aware of the possible harm of Dengvaxia but still opted to pursue the mass vaccination program.

The letter said: “The possibility of harm is real because the vaccine does not have a consistent effect on all serotypes of the dengue virus. Because of this, there is a possibility of immunologic enhancement, resulting in more severe diseases from a different virus stereotype.”

Among signatories are academician Antonio Dans of the National Academy of Science and Technology; Minerva Calimag of the Philippine Medical Association, Benjamin Co of the University of Sto. Tomas, Leonila Dans from UP College of Medicine, Mercy Fabros and Ana Maria Nemenzo of WomenHealth, Mary Ann lansang of the UP College of Medicine, Maria Asuncion Silvestre of the Asia-Pacific Center for Evidence-Based Health Care, and former health undersecretary Madeleine de Rosas.

The letter also said the P3.5 billion allocated for the program was too high considering the lack of guaranteed efficiency, and that a new generation of anti-dengue vaccine, called TV003, could be more effective and is cheaper than Dengvaxia.

Also submitted by PAO to the DOJ panel is a document showing that as early as 2015, Sanofi Pasteur already knew of the risk of being inoculated with Dengvaxia.

The DOH suspended the mass vaccination program only in November last year. By them, at least 830,000 children from Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Cebu have been vaccinated.
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