Health experts still question Dengvaxia-mass vaccination

UNTV News   •   February 7, 2018   •   3823

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee once again questioned the process of procurement of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccines.

For Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman, Senator Richard Gordon, there seems to be a manipulation on the procurement of the said vaccines.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and former Health Secretary Janette Garin refuted the allegations.

“I would say that it follows the process po,” FDA Deputy Dir. Gen. for Field regulatory Operations Office Ma. Lourdes Santiago said.

“Because if no CPR (Certificate of Product Registration) is forthcoming, then I will directly inform the president na imposible po ang dengue vaccine (that a dengue vaccine is impossible).” Garin said.

But for some health experts, the mass vaccination of more than 800,000 children is still questionable, as the conduct of such undertaking entails long and thorough preparation.

“I will not take any risk . . . especially on a massive scale,” UP-PGH Dr. Juliet Sio-Aguilar said.

“The patient has the right to know. Hindi nalaman ng tao ‘yan (The public did not know). Prescription based ka, bakit ka magma-mass vaccination (It’s prescription-based, why would you conduct a mass vaccination?),” said health reform advocate, Dr. Anthony Leachon.

On the other hand, health experts believe there is no need to worry for now regarding the effects of Dengavaxia.

“Sa daming kanilang na bakunahan ng Dengvaxia, talagang mayroon at mayroon doon na mga normal diseases that will happen with or without Dengvaxia,” Aguilar said.

( Translation: With the number of people vaccinated with Dengvaxia, there will inevitably be normal diseases that will happen with or without Dengvaxia.)

“Results from the clinical trials . . . in general safe ho,” infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Mary Ann Lansang said.

They said it is premature for them to come up with any conclusion until they have seen the result of the probe conducted by the Dengue Investigative Task Force.

Meanwhile, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque said, the Dengvaxia issue has greatly affected the other government’s Immunization Program.

“And to date, I think it’s down to 57% it’s substantial 30% reduction, that’s truly a cause of concern,” Duque said.

As the hearing rolled on, the Blue Ribbon Committee has issued subpoenas to Public Attorney Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta and PAO Forensic Laboratory Director Dr. Erwin Erfe who conducted a separate investigation on the issue.

Some senators are calling for unity on handling the issue to establish an airtight case against the persons involved in the controversy.

“Eh di ba dapat tayo ay magsama-sama, magtulong-tulong? Ang hindi ko maintindihan bakit ayaw nilang makipagtulungan, ano ba ang meron?” said Senate Committee on Health & Demography chairman, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito.

(Are we not supposed to work together? I don’t understand why they refuse to cooperate. What’s the reason?)

“Ang ayaw ko lang sa kanila, sinasabi nila Dengvaxia. Hihina ang kaso ng gobyerno kapag sinasabi niyo Dengvaxia tapos wala namang napapatunayan,” Gordon said.

(What I don’t like about them is they keep saying it’s Dengvaxia. The government’s case will weaken if you keep saying Dengvaxia without any proof.)

The Blue Ribbon Committee will set another hearing on the Dengvaxia controversy. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

Blue Ribbon to release initial report on ‘overpriced’ medical supplies from Pharmally

Maris Federez   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is set to release the initial report on its investigation into the alleged overpriced medical supplies for COVID-19 procured by the government from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation.

Blue Ribbon chairperson Senator Richard Gordon said they will try to release the said preliminary report within this week.

He said the committee had been very careful in preparing the report from the results of the investigations conducted in the series of hearings. He added that individuals who must take accountability for the said anomaly will be included in the report in accordance with the anti-graft law and the procurement law.

“Ang lalabas ngayon, ano ang naging resulta ng imbestigasyon. Well, mabusisi ito. Malinaw na kung anong ginawa. ‘Yun ang ipapalabas natin. Ito ang ginawa ng mga taong ‘to, ito ang mananagot sa anti-graft, ito ang mananagot sa violation ng procurement law, at sino ba talaga ang nagpaikot niyan,” Gordon said.

The senator said they will hold the twelfth hearing on the said issue on Tuesday, following its cancellation last October 12. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

No urgent need for booster shots yet — FDA

Maris Federez   •   October 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday said it does not see any urgent need to push for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

The FDA said the number of breakthrough infections among those who are already fully vaccinated is still low to consider the administration of booster shots.

“Meron po tayong naireport from the general population na 516 cases or .0025% out of 23 million fully vaccinated individuals which is a very low number,” said FDA director-general Usec. Eric Domingo.

Domingo stressed that they have not yet received reports of diminishing vaccine efficacy after five months of getting inoculated.

“Hindi naman po tumataas ang people getting breakthrough infections dito sa Sinovac. Ibig sabihin, at this time, wala pa pong pangangailangan na magbigay ng booster dahil hindi pa talaga tayo nakakakita pa ng waning effect ng vaccines,” Domingo added.

The Department of Health has also said earlier that there is still no complete evidence that will lead to a decision to administer booster shots. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Doctors group urges Duterte to reverse order barring Cabinet members from attending Senate hearing

Maris Federez   •   October 11, 2021


MANILA, Philippines — A group of doctors appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to reverse his order barring  Cabinet members from attending the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing on the alleged anomalous procurement of COVID-19 supplies.

The group wants the Senate hearing to continue the hearing, questioning why the Department of Health (DOH) transferred the said procurement to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

This, despite the earlier clarification made by the Commission on Audit that there was no overpricing in the procurement of COVID-19 supplies and that the said government transaction went through careful inspection.

“Kung bakit ipinasa ng Department of Health ang pagbili nung mga protective equipment na ito sa Department of Budget (and Management), sa DBM. ‘Yun pa lang hindi ma-explain, kase ang ipinapasa lang po talaga sa DBM ay yung mga administrative. ‘Yung mga may kinalaman sa administrative part which means yung mga office supplies, ang mga protective equipment, definitely this is a health. This should actually belong to the Department of Health,” said the group’s president, Dr. Maricar Limpin.

The group also defended the manner of questioning of some senators on the resource persons, saying that there was no bullying that was taking place during the hearing.

“Sa paningin ko yun ay part ng pagku-cross examine, at different personalities have different way of trying to get information. Whatever form na ginagawa nila in order to extract the truth, kase hindi siya maliit na pera. Forty-two billion. At napunta po iyong deal na iyan, yung kontrata, sa isang maliit na kumpanya,” Dr. Anthony Leachon, former president of PCP, said.

The group appeals to the Senate to finish the hearing on the said issue and forward the result of their investigation to the Department of Justice or the Office of the Ombudsman for appropriate action.

Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the administration will no longer allow Cabinet members and other officials in the Executive Department to attend any succeeding Senate hearings.

“In fact, they appeared before 12 hearings of the Senate and the House and he only said itigil na iyan, after 12. Kasi wala namang bago pong tinatanong at walang bagong sagot,” Roque said. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)


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