MANILA - Former health secretary Janette Garin said Sunday her "apology" over a scrapped dengue vaccination program was an appeal for calm and openness to explanations.
"My asking for forgiveness is a form of appeal to everyone to stay calm and put the issue of dengue vaccination in perspective," she said in a statement.
"Ang ibig ko pong sabihin ay paumanhin po o pasintabi po at humihingi ako ng dagdag pang unawa habang hinhintay natin ang dagdag pang sasabihin at paglilinaw ng DOH, WHO, at mga expertong organisasyon na nagsusuri dito."
(What I meant was that I was sorry and I was asking for more understanding while we wait for more statements and clarifications from the Department of Health and the World Health Origanization, who are looking into the issue. )
Garin had led the previous Aquino administration's campaign to administer Dengvaxia on 1 million school children.
French drug-maker Sanofi however disclosed recently that the vaccine might worsen dengue symptoms if given to those who have not had the mosquito-borne disease, prompting the government to suspend the immunization program.
"Sa mga nanay, pasensya na po, I would like to apologize na may ganitong pagpa-panic... As long as the truth is on our side, matatapos po ito," Garin said in a DZMM interview on Saturday.
(To affected mothers, I would like to apologize that this has caused panic... As long as the truth is on our side, this will pass.)
The apology did not sit well with some parents.
"Paano kung nawala ang anak ko, iyung sorry niya, ganoon na lang iyun?" said Jocelyn Nieves, whose child received all 3 required Dengvaxia shots.
(What if I were to lose my child, will her sorry suffice?)
Garin earlier said she was ready to face the mass murder and plunder complaints filed against her and former President Benigno Aquino III for approving the Dengvaxia program.
Sanofi had also said that only 1 in 10 Filipinos have no history of dengue.
The Senate, House of Representatives and the Bureau of National Investigation are investigating the issue separately.