File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang appealed to parents all over the country not to let the Dengvaxia controversy stop them from getting their children vaccinated against other diseases.
"Malacañang is calling out to all mothers and fathers, not all vaccines are bad...What's worse is if we stop taking vaccines against sicknesses that we know are deadly," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday, February 9 during a press conference in Camarines Sur.
Roque emphasized that the investigation into the connection between Dengvaxia and deaths of children who took the vaccine is still ongoing.
"There is not enough data to prove that Dengvaxia was the reason for the deaths," he said in Filipino.
A University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) found that only 3 out of 14 deaths of children who received the shot were causally linked to the vaccine. The 3 children died due to dengue despite having had a Dengvaxia shot.
Two of these cases may have occurred due to vaccine failure, meaning the vaccine was not even activated hence the children had no protection against the dengue they contracted.
Roque said the Dengvaxia controversy should not lead parents to doubt the reliability of vaccines that have been in use for a long time and have proven to be effective.
"Let us be calm and let us have our children vaccinated against the sicknesses for which there are vaccines that have been used for a long time," he said in Filipino.
Occurrences of measle outbreaks have become more common since the Dengvaxia issue exploded, according to Malacañang.
President Rodrigo Duterte met with Public Attorney's Office chief Persida Acosta, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Dante Jimenez on Thursday to discuss the Dengvaxia issue.
Roque said Duterte promised anyone liable for the Dengvaxia controversy will be held accountable.
The President also repeated promises that government, through public hospitals, would foot the bill for children suffering from illness after taking the controversial vaccine.
He suggested tapping foreign clinical pathologists to help determine if there is any causal link between Dengvaxia and the deaths of children. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.