Deng­vaxia vac­ci­nees to get P1.16-B med­i­cal aid

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! -

CITY OF SAN FER­NANDO— Suri­gao del Sur Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Johnny Pi­mentel is push­ing for an ini­tial P1.16-bil­lion al­lot­ment to pay for the treat­ment and hospi­tal­iza­tion of school chil­dren ren­dered sick af­ter re­ceiv­ing the con­tro­ver­sial an­ti­dengue Deng­vaxia vac­cine.

Un­der House Joint Res­o­lu­tion No. 21, the en­tire P1.16 bil­lion pre­vi­ously re­turned by Deng­vaxia man­u­fac­turer Sanofi Pas­teur to the gov­ern­ment shall be ear­marked for the health sur­veil­lance and care of more than 870,000 in­oc­u­lated chil­dren.

“This is a spe­cial ap­pro­pri­a­tions mea­sure, since right now, with­out the ex­press autho­riza­tion of Congress, the Sanofi re­fund is idle,” Pi­mentel said.

Both the De­part­ment of Bud­get and Man­age­ment (DBM) and the De­part­ment of Health (DOH) have pe­ti­tioned Congress to set aside the P1.16 bil­lion for the pur­pose of tend­ing to the vac­ci­nees, ac­cord­ing to Pi­mentel.

“We are thus merely al­low­ing the DBM to re­lease the money from Sanofi so that the DOH may spend it to look af­ter the vac­ci­nees,” Pi­mentel said.

So far, the DOH said 65 chil­dren have died af­ter re­ceiv­ing Deng­vaxia shots.

Of the 65 mor­tal­i­ties, 13 were due to se­vere dengue in­fec­tions while the 52 oth­ers died of other causes.

Un­der the House joint res­o­lu­tion filed by Pi­mentel, the P1.16 bil­lion shall be used to pay for:

• Hospi­tal­iza­tion ex­penses (in­clud­ing re­im­burse­ment) in case of ad­verse ef­fects fol­low­ing vac­ci­na­tion, in­clud­ing all in-pa­tient checkup costs in­curred;

• Out­pa­tient med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tions, in­clud­ing but not lim­ited to, di­ag­nos­tic and con­fir­ma­tory lab­o­ra­tory tests and medicines pre­scribed af­ter pos­i­tive con­fir­ma­tion of neg­a­tive ef­fects of the vac­cine;

• Ex­penses in­curred in the post-mortem of the re­mains of vac­ci­nees who died pur­port­edly due to Deng­vaxia-re­lated com­pli­ca­tions;

• The dis­tri­bu­tion of med­i­cal kits to the fam­i­lies of vac­ci­nees;

• The hir­ing of ad­di­tional nurses to over­see the con­di­tion of vac­ci­nees;

The DOH said last week it in­tends to de­ploy at least 500 nurses to Metro Manila, Cen­tral Lu­zon, Cal­abar­zon and Cen­tral Visayas to mon­i­tor the con­di­tion of vac­ci­nees.

Pi­mentel is count­ing on both the House and the Sen­ate to pass the joint res­o­lu­tion soon af­ter the re­sump­tion of ses­sion on May 14.

A joint res­o­lu­tion is quicker to pass than a bill, ac­cord­ing to Pi­mentel, who is chair­man of the House good gov­ern­ment and pub­lic ac­count­abil­ity com­mit­tee that re­cently con­cluded a joint in­quiry with the health panel into the Deng­vaxia con­tro­versy.

The two pan­els are now pre­par­ing a re­port on their find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions.

The Philip­pines be­came the first coun­try in the world to launch in April 2016 a pub­lic in­oc­u­la­tion pro­gram against dengue us­ing Den gvax i a.

How­ever, in Novem­ber 2017, Sanofi re­leased the ad­verse find­ings of its long-term fol­low-up study which showed that chil­dren who never had dengue but who were given Deng­vaxia shots had an in­creased risk of a se­vere case and hospi­tal­iza­tion from the third year af­ter im­mu­niza­tion.

The DOH has since halted the anti-dengue im­mu­niza­tion drive, af­ter Sanofi con­ceded that the shots could worsen symp­toms for vac­ci­nees who con­tracted the dis­ease for the first time.

With­out ad­mit­ting any wrong­do­ing, Sanofi in Jan­uary re­im­bursed the DOH the amount of P1.16 bil­lion for the un­used doses of Deng­vaxia. (Press Re­lease)

— Cherie Joyce V. Flores/PIA-3

GDP PRO­JEC­TION. Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB) Sec­re­tary Woo­chong Um says they are pro­ject­ing the Philip­pines’ Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct to ac­cel­er­ate to 6.8 per­cent this 2018, up from 6.7 per­cent last year. The Build Build Build in­fra­struc­ture projects and com­pre­hen­sive tax re­forms are ex­cel­lent ini­tia­tives in con­tin­u­ing the coun­try’s strong per­for­mance.

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