Dengvaxia vaccinees to get P1.16-B medical aid
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)
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.