Class suit over dengue vaccination mess urged

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 06 2017 11:50 AM | Updated as of Dec 06 2017 12:08 PM

MANILA - A public interest lawyer on Wednesday urged private individuals to lodge a class suit against those responsible for a P3.4 billion dengue vaccination program that has triggered a health scare.

The government last week suspended the program after French drugmaker Sanofi disclosed that its dengue vaccine Dengvaxia may cause "more cases of severe disease" if given to those who have not had the mosquito-borne illness before.

Some 733,000 public school students have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia since 2016, when the Philippines became the first country to start using it on a mass scale.

A class suit would demand settlement from Sanofi to ensure that the families of the children can shoulder medical expenses if they suffer adverse effects, Atty. Ernesto Francisco, Jr. told DZMM.

He warned however that complainants should pursue the class suit only after a possible legislative investigation to prevent respondents from fending off questions by invoking their right against self-incrimination.

The legislative investigation, Francisco said, should also determine if officials of the previous Aquino administration should be held legally liable for approving the immunization program.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Representative Office Philippines clarified Tuesday that it did not prescribe the use of Dengvaxia.

Sanofi had said that Dengvaxia would not cause anyone who was immunized to die and that potential cases of "severe dengue" would not be fatal.

The WHO said it hoped to review safety data this month on Sanofi's dengue vaccine which the company said was approved in 19 countries and launched in 11. With Reuters