Liberal senators urged the government to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the failed dengue vaccine program.
“We support calls for investigation of this issue as thousands of children’s lives are at stake here. We must ensure that the investigation will not be selective and will cover all periods of implementation of the program,” said Partido Liberal president, Sen. Francis Pangilinan.
Sen. Pangilinan pointed out that the program was implemented by the Department of Health during the last year of the Aquino administration and continued by the Duterte government, upon the recommendation of the new DOH leadership.
Aside from digging deep into the controversy, Sen. Bam Aquino said concerned government agencies must monitor the status of students who received the initial dose of the vaccine to ensure their health and wellness.
“Mas mahalagang mabantayan ang kalagayan ng mga estudyanteng tumanggap ng bakuna upang matiyak ang kanilang kaligtasan,” said Sen. Bam.
Sen. Franklin Drilon said Sanofi, together with the government, has the duty to ensure the safety of those vaccinated.
“As what the health experts say, dengue kills. And it is the responsibility of government to find a safe and effective solution to the disease,” said Drilon.
The Department of Health (DOH) stopped the use of Dengvaxia after Sanofi revealed that it can worsen the disease in people who have not previously been contracted with the dengue virus.
According to a study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4347342/), from 2008–2012, the Department of Health reported an annual average of 117,065 dengue cases, placing the country fourth in dengue burden in southeast Asia. During the same period, DOH reported 585,324 dengue cases, with a case fatality rate (CFR) of 0.55% or 3,195 deaths.