MANILA - Former health secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin on Wednesday slammed Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa for alleging that outbreaks could be the handiwork of pharmaceutical firms to make profit.
Garin said Dela Rosa’s statements might be taken seriously by parents.
"If we have irresponsible statements like this it may be misconstrued by other parents at sabihin nila 'Naku di pala totoo yung outbreak negosyo lang yan.' samantalang yung polio vaccine naman natin manggagaling sa World Health Organization,” Garin said during the weekly press briefing of the House minority bloc.
“Those statements pwede nagpapa-cute lang, pwede nagpapatuwa. Di ko alam, I was not there. But when I saw it ang unang pumasok sa isip ko baka madagdagan ulit ang duda ng mga magulang sa epekto ng bakuna."
(His statement could further fuel vaccination doubts among parents).
Dela Rosa had supposedly asked the Department of Health and other resource persons if it was possible that vaccine producers created outbreaks to increase sales.
"It's a slap to many Filipino scientists who have grown to be hired by other countries and other companies to manufacture the vaccine," Garin said.
“Ang bakuna po ay di kumikita sa mga outbreak dahil binibigay yan ng libre. At siguro naman yung mga doktor na totoo at totoong eksperto hindi mo naman gugustuhin mamatay ang tao para ka lang kumita. That statement is the usual argument of the anti-vaxxers.”
(Vaccine companies don't earn more just because there's an outbreak. Real health practitioners also don't want people to die just to earn money.)
Immunization coverage in the country dropped to 40 percent last year, from an average 70 percent in recent years, partly due to mistrust stoked by a dengue vaccine scandal, authorities earlier said.
The decrease in vaccination has led to the resurgence of polio in the country and an outbreak of measles and dengue. A suspected case of diphtheria was also recently reported in Manila.
--Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News