Garin offers to resign over Dengvaxia

Jess Diaz - The Philippine Star
Garin offers to resign over Dengvaxia

MANILA, Philippines — Former health secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin yesterday offered to resign from her post over the Dengvaxia controversy.

“The challenge for me is to resign if indeed Dengvaxia causes deaths... I welcome and accept that. I’ve been saying that several times, that dengue vaccine does not cause deaths,” Garin said.

Garin was health secretary during the Aquino administration when a program to vaccinate one million schoolchildren in regions where there was a high incidence of dengue was launched. 

French pharmaceutical giant  Sanofi Pasteur produced Dengvaxia, the vaccine used.

At the House of Representatives plenary session on Tuesday night, Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said Garin and other former officials of the Aquino administration should take responsibility for the dengue vaccination program, which he said stoked fear among parents and children.

“Ever since the misapplication of Dengvaxia, parents all over the country have refrained from having their children vaccinated for fear that it might do more harm than good,” Atienza said.

He said parents and even health authorities were not told that the vaccine was effective only for children who had been infected with dengue while those with no previous infection are at risk for serious dengue.

“Who was at fault? Certainly it was not the parents and their children. It was the fault of the officials then,” Atienza said.

 He said the resurgence of polio was largely due to the prevailing vaccination fear among parents and children.

Garin and other lawmakers have criticized Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta for allegedly creating hysteria on Dengvaxia. They blamed the polio outbreak on “pseudo experts on vaccines.”

Acosta’s office linked the death of several schoolchildren and even adults to Dengvaxia. Garin said there is no scientific evidence to support such claim.

Garin said parents have been avoiding vaccination after ”non-experts started claiming they knew everything about the vaccine.”



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