Año: Dengvaxia scare caused measles outbreaks in PH

Rambo Talabong
Año: Dengvaxia scare caused measles outbreaks in PH
'Pinag-usapan 'yan sa Cabinet.... Natakot magpa-immunize ang mga magulang [ng] mga anak nila,' says Interior Secretary Eduardo Año

MANILA, Philippines – The vaccination scare brought by the Dengvaxia controversy led to the measles outbreaks in Luzon and the Visayas, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Thursday, February 7.

Año said this conclusion was reached during the Cabinet meeting the day before. (READ: A year after Dengvaxia: Immunization drops, measles outbreaks soar)

“Pinag-usapan ‘yan sa Cabinet. Ang reason kung bakit nagkaroon ng measles breakout, because of the issue on Dengvaxia. Natakot magpa-immunize ang mga magulang [ng] mga anak nila,” Año said on the sidelines of the National Federalism Summit at the Manila Hotel.

(That was discussed during the Cabinet meeting. The reason why there is a measles breakout is because of the issue on Dengvaxia. The parents are scared of having their children undergo immunization.)

This comes after the Department of Health (DOH) announced measles outbreaks in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon as well as the Visayas.

In late 2017, the government suspended its dengue immunization program after Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur said that the vaccine poses more risks to people who had not been infected by the virus before immunization.

The mess triggered investigations in the Senate and the House of Representatives, with lawmakers recommending charges against former president Benigno Aquino III, ex-health secretary Janette Garin, ex-budget secretary Florencio Abad, and several others.

Multiple reports of children’s deaths were also linked to the vaccine, despite the lack of solid evidence.

“Ang nangyari ngayon, way below ‘yung ating statistics sa immunization compared to previous years (What is happening now is that our immunization statistics are way below compared to previous years),” Año said.

In an earlier interview with reporters, DILG spokesman Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said they are already on standby to aid the DOH in intensifying its measles vaccination campaign. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.