Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler
“You killed my child.”
Wearing black shirts that called for justice for the “victims” of a controversial dengue vaccine, mothers of children who took part in a mass vaccination program, confronted former health secretary Janette Garin after a House hearing on Monday, February 5. (TIMELINE: Dengue immunization program for public school students)
The 4, who were at the Batasang Pambansa Complex for the a House probe into alleged anomalies in the procurement of the vaccine and eventual implementation of the program, charged at Garin at she entered the elevator of the South Wing Annex.
The 4 were in hysterics, screaming at Garin and accusing her of killing their children. One mother was heard calling for “medical intervention” for her child. (READ: 'Why did Dengvaxia get FDA clearance without EU go signal?')
One of the women tried to grab Garin, who was shielded by one of her legal counsels. Building security eventually stepped in to wrestle one of the women out of the elevator.
One woman was seen banging the elevator door long after Garin and her companions left.
The women would later tell media present during the confrontation that none of their children had died since being vaccinated but had reported feeling ill.
The House and the Senate are holding separate probes into the controversial vaccine and mass immunization program under the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III.
The government then allocated over P3.5 billion for the program and implemented it in April 2016, despite concerns from health experts about the mass vaccination program.
Experts then insisted the government should have waited for further studies before it went on to distribute it to the masses.
In November 2017, Sanofi Pasteur, manufacturer of the vaccine, said it posed a risk to persons who had yet to encounter the virus prior to vaccination.
Still, the pharmaceutical company insists Dengvaxia is safe and effective. Sanofi refunded the Philippines for the vials that were unused but refused to do the same for the one that were used.
The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) has filed the first civil case demanding over P4 million in damages. Respondents to the case include Garin, former health undersecretary Kenneth Hartigan-Go, officials of Dengvaxia makers Sanofi Pasteur, and officials of distributor Zuellig Pharma.
Health experts have been calling for more level-headed discussions about the controversial vaccine and have criticized the PAO for “wild” claims it made after conducting autopsies on children who died after being administered Dengvaxia. (READ: Expert warns vs wild claims linked to Dengvaxia)
A University of the Philippines - Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) team has thus far concluded that in 14 deaths of vaccinated children, 3 were linked to dengue. The other deaths have to be studied further.
Thus far, 29 vaccinated children have died but experts have yet to determine the causes of their deaths. – Rappler.com