MANILA, Philippines – Gabriela Women’s Party, together with at least 70 mothers and children, filed a petition with the Supreme Court, asking it to compel the government to address the dangers posed by the controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
The petitioners urged the SC to require the Department of Health (DOH) to provide free medicines and hospitalization to vaccinated children when the health issue is found related to the vaccine.
“These free medical services shall continue until it would have been determined and declared by competent and medical and/or scientific experts that the threat/s brought about by the Dengvaxia vaccine have been minimized or eliminated,” the petition stated.
The petitioners also urged the SC to order the DOH, the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to publicly disseminate, on a regular basis, the reports involving Dengvaxia and submit them to congressional health committees.
“There are reports that the DOH will provide monetary compensation to those who were inoculated with Dengvaxia. However, petitioners maintain their position that monetary rewards are not enough to compensate for the injury brought to them by this medical scandal,” the petition stated.
“What is important for them is that they be ensured immediate and free medical attention and services in their medical needs that are attributable to the Dengvaxia vaccine,” it added. (READ: What to do if your child received dengue vaccine)
They also want the DOH to conduct further study and review of the safety and efficacy of Dengvaxia.
The DOH, in coordination with DepEd and DILG, is also urged to create a registry containing all the names of all people vaccinated, including information on whether those persons had been exposed to dengue infection prior to vaccination.
The respondents named in the petition include Health Secretary Francisco Duque III; Education Secretary Leonor Briones; DILG officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy; Lyndon Lee Suy, program director of the DOH-National Center for Disease Prevention and Control; and Food and Drug Administration Director General Nela Charade Puno.
At least 830,000 Filipinos in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Cebu were vaccinated.
The DOH suspended the government’s immunization program following the announcement of Sanofi Pasteur that its vaccine could lead to “severe” dengue if given to a person with no prior infection of the virus.
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email email@example.com