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Duterte urges the public to get vaccinated

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 30 January 2019 09:06 AM

FILE PHOTO: Vaccination (Ina Fassbender / Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte urged parents to avail of the government’s free vaccination program for their children.

The Chief Executive noted a decline in number of parents availing vaccination for their children since the Dengvaxia controversy.

The President encouraged the public not to fear immunization to protect children from possible outbreak of diseases.

“Simula ‘yung nagkaroon ng gulo dito maraming mga pamilya dito sa Pilipinas, hindi lang sa Malabon, na natakot ng mga itong vaccination at ayaw na. Do not be lulled and be complacent about it kasi ang sanggol talaga kailangan,” the President said.

“Iyong Dengvaxia lang kung ayaw ninyo okay lang. But lahat ng anak ninyo hindi naman tayo nagkulang sa bakuna. Because it is good and it is for the health of the person noong maliit pa hanggang lumaki,” he added.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III noted a 40% drop in measles vaccination in 2018 due to the public’s declining trust in government immunization.

This report, Duque said, is a alarming and definitely a cause of concern for the government as health experts project a possible outbreak if children lack protection.

“You’re going to have outbreaks, sooner than later,” the health official said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Graft charges sought vs. Noynoy, former officials over Dengvaxia fiasco

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 6 February 2019 04:29 PM

(L-R) Former President Benigno Aquino III; former health Secretary Janette Garin; former Budget Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability on Wednesday (February 6) recommended the filing of graft charges, technical malversation and grave misconduct against former president Benigno Aquino III for allowing the use of Dengvaxia in government immunization programs that allegedly caused the death of several children.

Also implicated were former Budget Secretary Florencio ‘Butch’ Abad and former health Secretary Janette Garin.

Based on the approved committee report, the three were among other government officials who conspired to procure the controversial anti-dengue vaccine despite lack of certificate of product registration and safety assurance from authorizing bodies.

House committee chair Rep. Xavier Romualdez argued that Aquino violated the law when he allowed the use of P3.5 billion in public funds to procure Dengvaxia vaccines in 2015.

Meanwhile, Dinagat Island Rep. Kaka Bag-Ao questioned the committee’s recommendation arguing that the House inquiry has not established proof that the said officials’ actions indeed violated the law.

But Romualdez stood by the House committee’s report.

Several congressmen proposed charges against the executives of Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur as well as former health Secretary Paulyn Ubial.

The UNTV News Team has sought the statement of those involved such as Aquino, Garin and Abad but to no avail.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), meanwhile, is now probing the complaints filed by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in relation to the deaths of 30 children being linked to the Dengvaxia immunization. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Duque hits PAO: Stop ‘baseless’ claims that destroy public trust in DOH, vaccines

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, 1 February 2019 10:21 AM

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III

MANILA, Philippines — Health Secretary Francisco Duque III expressed dismay over Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta’s continuous attacks on the Department of Health (DOH) over the Dengvaxia controversy.

In a statement released on Thursday (January 31), Duque cited Acosta’s recent interview where she accused the DOH of paying off families of alleged Dengvaxia victims P50,000 each to drop charges.

“This is malicious, baseless and a complete lie,” the Health Secretary said.

“Baseless statements like these cause serious damage to our reputation as the primary government entity mandated to protect the health of all Filipinos,” he added.

The official said the DOH has tried to reach out to government agencies, including PAO, to resolve the issues surrounding the controversial anti-dengue vaccine.

However, Duque said, the PAO led by Acosta “refuse to cooperate and continue to attack and throw baseless claims and accusations at the Department of Health” and the Health Secretary’s person.

Duque, along with other former and current officials of the DOH and executives of Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur, is facing charges over the deaths of children who received the anti-dengue vaccine.

Duque noted that Acosta’s accusations resulted in “a decline in vaccine confidence and a rise in cases of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases” in the country.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) Philippines, measles cases in the country skyrocketed to 17, 298 cases from January to November 2018, a staggering 367% increase than 3,706 cases in the same period in 2017.

On its Facebook account, the WHO Philippines noted that: “Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death. Have your children vaccinated at the nearest health center.”

Even President Rodrigo Duterte himself urged the public to get vaccinated and “not to be lulled and be complacent” as children, especially infants, are susceptible to viral and bacterial diseases.

In his statement, Duque called on his fellow public servants to work together and “collectively find solutions to the problems” instead of creating divisions.

“We must work around facts backed by reliable evidence,” he said implying of Acosta’s accusations.

He also lamented that despite the DOH’s efforts to help the Filipinos, especially the poor, as the primary health care provider in the country, their actions are being “twisted” and “taken negatively”.

He cited instances that Health staff who are facilitating the support groups on the ground “are being bullied and harassed at every instance”.

“I strongly call on those with negative intentions to stop propagating baseless allegations and stop harassing our staff,” the Health Secretary concluded. – Marje Pelayo

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Dengvaxia ban likely to extend for more than a year – DOH

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 11 December 2018 05:39 PM

FILE PHOTO: The controversial dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia

MANILA, Philippines – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is likely to extend the ban on marketing and sales of Dengvaxia, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

December 29 this year marks the first year since the license of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur was suspended; banning its sale of Dengvaxia in the country.

The DOH believes that since the controversy on the anti-dengue vaccine is not yet closed, the ban on sale of Dengvaxia still remains.

“Iyong one-year suspension ng Dengvaxia CPR is not yet lifted and I do not see it being lifted anytime soon. We still have a lot of pending issues with the vaccine and at this time we do not see it being registered and allowed for marketing in the Philippines…regulatory issues and cases in Court,” said DOH Spokesperson Usec. Eric Domingo.

It will be recalled that the FDA suspended Sanofi for not submitting its post-marketing authorization requirements which were supposed to prove that the products manufactured by the pharmaceutical company are safe to use.

Sanofi also couldn’t assure the safety of Dengvaxia, according to DOH.

The DOH noted that in November 29, 2017, Sanofi released a statement that Dengvaxia is not advisable to be administered to seronegative recipients —children or adults—who never had dengue infection prior to injection for the reason that their cases are likely to develop into severe dengue.

“It cannot be used without testing for children if they had dengue before. And there are no available testing kits commercially to do that. We don’t see naman any use for the vaccine at this time,” Domingo said.

The DOH also argued that the even regulatory agencies in the world that were granted with licenses to use Dengvaxia such as in Brazil, have set restrictions on the use of Dengvaxia on children who never had dengue infection prior to injection.

Hindi na rin sila magbibigay without screening,” Domingo said.

Based on the latest findings of the DOH, about 24 to 25 cases of dengue infection led to death due to severe dengue.

“We’ve seen talagang meron tayong patients who have, na ang mortality nila was due to severe dengue and I think probably from talagang seronegative patients iyon,” the health official said.

Meanwhile, the DOH is still waiting for the approval of Congress regarding the supplemental budget for vaccinees from the refund that Sanofi gave which reached P1.16-B.

Domingo said before the end of the year, the Office of the Solicitor General is likely to file a case against Sanofi Pasteur in line with the Dengvaxia controversy. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

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