Garin to DOH: Yes, dengue vaccine can’t address current outbreak but can prevent future ones
Former Health Secretary and now Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin on Wednesday rebuked Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Eric Domingo for stating that administering dengue vaccine would not have an effect on the dengue epidemic in the country.
“I agree with Usec Domingo, the dengue vaccine is not a response to the ongoing epidemic but I believe it is wrong to say that it will have no effect,” she said in a statement.
“This statement is misleading. The use of the vaccine is as a preventive measure so there will be no outbreak. Dengue vaccine can’t address the current outbreak but can PREVENT FUTURE OUTBREAKS,” Garin said.
She earlier said the Philippines would not be experiencing as bad of a dengue outbreak had the government continued its dengue vaccination program using the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine.
“We and the rest of the medical community including the World Health Organization (WHO) has foreseen this that is why preventive measures were implemented” Garin said.
“We are calling on Secretary Duque and Usec. Domingo to put aside biases from the anti-vaxxers and let us help save lives instead,” she said.
“People are dying, the virus is spreading. Implementation doesn’t have to be mass immunization. If they don’t want to give it to the poor, they can at least make it available to private doctors and individuals who are willing to shoulder the cost. That way it lessens the number of vulnerable dengue victims” she added.
Garin reminded DOH that Dengvaxia is on the internationally recognized Essential Medicines List or EML of the WHO.
“Being on the EML means all governments are obliged to make it available to their people at all times,” she said.