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PAO pins deaths on Dengvaxia anew

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The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) yesterday reiterated to the Department of Justice (DoJ) that the controversial anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia should not have been administered to nearly a million school children nationwide.

The PAO maintained that Dengvaxia was still on a clinical trial phase when it was given to Filipino children, resulting in alleged deaths from the vaccine itself.

Nine parents of children who allegedly died due to vaccine were led by the PAO in issuing a reply affidavit to the DoJ on the complaints they had filed against former and present Department of Health (DoH) officials.

Representatives of giant pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur of France, maker of Dengvaxia and its local distributor Zuellig Pharma have also been included in the complaints.

PAO chief Atty. Persida Acosta said they have included in their reply the medical evidence and admission of Sanofi that the vaccine could worsen dengue for those who have not had previous experiences with dengue and yet were vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

Torture?

The complaints against DoH, Sanofi and Zuellig officials included violations of the Anti-Torture Law and the Consumer Protection Act.

Among the evidence submitted by PAO were documents from Peter Smith of the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that it was only in November 2017 that Phase 1 or the clinical trial of Sanofi on Dengvaxia was finished.

At the time of administering to Filipinos, the vaccine was still under pharmacological monitoring and surveillance.

The DoJ set on 30 August the preliminary investigation on the case with the 30 respondents being asked to issue rejoinder affidavits.

Lookout order

Earlier, the DoJ had issued a lookout bulletin order (LBO) against former President Benigno Aquino III, former Health Secretary Janette Garin and former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr.

The three cannot just leave the country until the DoJ has come up with a resolution on the multiple homicide and physical injuries charges against them.

Aquino and company are facing charges of malversation of public funds and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Government Procurement Reform Act filed against them by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and Vanguard of the Philippine Constitution Inc. last February.

Not yet lifted

The LBO was issued by then justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II in December last year when a witness surfaced on alleged irregularities on the P3.5-billion dengue immunization program.

DoJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the LBO is not yet lifted, thus Aquino, Abad and Garin cannot leave the country.

Those who were inoculated need to be monitored to ensure their well-being.

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