Song of the week: ‘It Was Vaccination’

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ROLLY G. REYES

BRIEF history of the issue:
The Department of Health’s Dengue School-based Immunization Program started during the term of then Health Secretary Janette Garin, in the schoolyear 2015-2016 covering hundreds of thousands of public school pupils nine years and older enrolled in Grade IV, and administered in three six-month interval doses up to June 2016.

Garin said the Philippines was the first in the world to introduce, adopt and implement the dengue vaccine through the public health system and under a public school setting.

Cost: P3.5 billion
In a public disclosure dated November 29 in Paris, the pharmaceutical company Sanofi disclosed that a new analysis of long-term Dengvaxia data found differences in vaccine performance based on whether or not the vaccine subject has had prior dengue infection.

The great majority of those pupils have certainly not had been previously infected by dengue.


Then the uproar: “This was reckless and irresponsible from the start and the public was deceived into thinking this vaccine would protect children from dengue.”

Then the various headlines that hogged our news outlets:

“FDA suspends sale, distribution of dengue vaccine Dengvaxia”

“DOJ orders probe of dengue vaccine program”

“W.H.O. didn’t recommend Dengvaxia for PH vaccination program”

“LP bigwigs defend Noy in Dengvaxia row”

“DOH eyes refund for dengue vaccine”

“P3.5-B dengue vaccine fiasco faces probes”

“Philippines orders Dengvaxia market pullout”

“W.H.O. didn’t recommend Dengvaxia for PH vaccination program”

“Philippines orders probe into Sanofi dengue vaccine for 730,000 children”

“Suspended dengue vaccine was given to 730,000 children”

“Former DOH Secretary ready to face probe on dengue vaccine”

“Aquino ordered health secretary to buy the P3.5-B defective dengue vaccine”

“VACC alleges ‘widespread cover-up’ of dengue vaccine anomalies”

Quick fact-check from Wiki to help us digest the terminologies in the controversy:

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms typically begin three to 14 days after infection. This may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. Recovery generally takes two to seven days. In a small proportion of cases, the disease develops into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, resulting in bleeding, low levels of blood platelets and blood plasma leakage, or into dengue shock syndrome, where dangerously low blood pressure occurs.

DoH – The Department of Health is the principal health agency in the Philippines. It is responsible for ensuring access to basic public health services to all Filipinos through the provision of quality health care and regulation of providers of health goods and services.

While pursuing its vision, the DoH adheres to the highest values of work, which are: integrity, excellence, compassion, and respect for human dignity, commitment, professionalism, teamwork, and stewardship of the health of the people.

FDA –The Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines was created under the Department of Health to license, monitor, and regulate the flow of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, and household hazardous waste in the Philippines.

DENGUEVACCINE is a vaccine to prevent dengue fever in humans. The World Health Organization only recommends the vaccine as a possible option in areas of the world where the disease is common. In 2017, the manufacturer recommended that the vaccine should only be used in people who have previously had a dengue infection.

Sanofi is a French multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Gentilly, France, as of 2013 the world’s fifth-largest by prescription sales. The company was formed as Sanofi-Aventis in 2004 by the merger of Aventis and Sanofi-Synthélabo, which were each the product of several previous mergers. It changed its name to Sanofi in May 2011.Sanofi engages in the research and development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical drugs principally in the prescription market, but the firm also develops over-the-counter medication. The company covers seven major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, central nervous system, diabetes, internal medicine, oncology, thrombosis and vaccines.

Politicians belonging to former President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Liberal Party (LP) urged the Duterte administration to insulate from politics its investigation into the procurement of P3.5billion worth of the anti-dengue vaccine.

Insulate from politics? Is the danger now confronting those vaccinated children “political?” What is happening with our politicians in the opposition? The investigation of the mess they created is now branded as “political” and rejects any blame coming from anyone. Are they now “immunized” against public safety and concern that their first instinct is to defend probable wrongdoing?

* * *

Duterte allows PNP to go back to drug war assisting PDEA. Drug lords, mules and users definitely are not saying “welcome back.”

News: Senate OKs 2018 budget. Taxpayers are not saying OK and we know why. Carlos Dominguez III and Benjamin Diokno are not smiling either.

Transport group leader of PISTON George San Mateo arrested, posts bail. He is now on “Tigil Pasada” mode. Members of the riding public are still wondering why Piston’s franchises are not being revoked.

* * *

SC upholds constitutionality of Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao.

Those who voted for dismissal: Justices Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. Teresita J. Leonardo De Castro, Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin, Mariano C. del Castillo, Estela M. Perlas Bernabe, Samuel Martires, Noel J. Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., and Alexander Gesmundo.

On leave: Justice Francis H. Jardeleza did not indicate his vote.

CJ Sereno, Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio, and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa voted to partially grant the motions as they maintained that martial law should be limited only to certain areas in Mindanao. In effect, they voted a conditional “yes” to dismiss the petition.

Justice Marvic Leonen was the only magistrate who voted to grant the motions.

– It seems that Justice Leonen read a different set of lawbooks during his college days.

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”- Albert Einstein

Good work, good deeds and good faith.

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