In an interview at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport upon arrival from the United States yesterday, Ona said it was Garin who advised former president Benigno Aquino lll to purchase the Dengvaxia vaccine. The STAR/Mong Pintolo, File

Dengue vaccine fiasco: Enrique Ona blames Janette Garin
Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) - December 18, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former health secretary Enrique Ona is willing to testify before the Senate inquiry on the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine, and has blamed his successor Janette Garin for the purchase of the anti-dengue vaccine.

In an interview at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport upon arrival from the United States yesterday, Ona said it was Garin who advised former president Benigno Aquino lll to purchase the Dengvaxia vaccine.

Ona resigned as health secretary in 2014 when the past administration was considering the purchase of the vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur. The government bought the vaccine for P3.5 billion.

Sanofi Pasteur recently admitted that Dengvaxia was safe on persons with prior dengue infection, but could cause severe dengue in those who had not been infected before vaccination if they were bitten by mosquitoes carrying the virus after period of inoculation.

Ona said he knew the possible effects of Dengvaxia on people with no history of dengue, but the past administration still purchased the vaccine without carefully reviewing its long-term effect.

The Department of Justice has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to start its probe on who are responsible for the anti-dengue vaccine mess. The Senate has also conducted its own probe.

Magna carta for patients pushed

Meanwhile, an administration lawmaker yesterday pushed for the passage of a magna carta for the rights and obligations of patients, following the Dengvaxia mess.

Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy of party-list Bagong Henerasyon,chair of the House committee on public information,said it would be best if President Duterte certifies her House Bill 1038 as “urgent.”

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