Dengvaxia timeline shows apparent haste in vaccine approval: Gordon

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 09 2018 03:30 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2018 03:39 PM

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The head of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee believes there was "apparent haste" in the decision of the Aquino administration to procure billions of pesos worth of the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia before the end of President Aquino's term in 2016. 

"Very, very clear from the very beginning. Nakita mo kung paano na-plano. Sunod-sunod. May direct connections sa mga biyahe, sa mga sulat, sa memo at makikita mo na itinutulak nila yung mga pipirma sa papel nilang kailangang maaprubahan within the year," Senator Richard Gordon, who chairs the Blue Ribbon Committee, said.

Gordon said then Health Secretary Janette Garin met with Sanofi officials in Paris in May 2015 to discuss the price of the vaccine. 

President Benigno Aquino III, Garin and other top officials then received Sanofi Pasteur officials who paid him a courtesy call when he was in France for the UN Conference on Climate Change on December 1, 2015.

"December 2 nagtatanong na saan na ba papel niyan para maaprubahan na at naaprubahan naman kaagad ng December 22," Gordon said.

"Nagbigay na sila ng recommendation kahit sinasabi ng isang doktora na hindi pa sila ready. Pinilit nila noong December 28," he said. "Tapos, January 7, sabi ng doktora na yun di daw sila ready."

Gordon said these events show that the government was really pushing for the procurement of the Dengvaxia vaccines. He reiterated that the Dengvaxia mass immunization program should not have been implemented. 

"Ang nakikita namin, the haste was very, very apparent," he said. 

"Nakita mo talagang minadali kaya ang resulta di maganda."

The DOH stopped the Dengvaxia immunization program after Sanofi Pasteur said it might increase the risk of severe dengue among those who have not yet contracted the mosquito-borne disease. 

Around 830,000 school children have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia during the mass immunization drive.
 
Gordon hopes that the next hearing on the dengue vaccine mess, which is scheduled for February 13, would be the last.

"Ginagawa na talaga namin ang desisyon para itong huling-huling hearing na ito sa February 13 pansamantala naming isasara dahil marami pang di lumabas na maaring magkasakit na maaring makadagdag sa imbestigasyon sa damage," he said. 

"Sa madaling sabi, handa na kaming mag-submit ng report," he said.