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Dengvaxia solution: vaccinate those who permitted its use

Batas Mauricio

IN the face of the conflicting claims on the P3.5 billion Dengvaxia vaccine scandal which, as of latest reports, was already recognized as the cause of the death of some children vaccinated with it, I believe there is only one way by which the great anger and agony of the hundreds of thousands of parents of children who were injected with it could be placated.

Right away, all the officials of Sanofi, Food and Drugs Administration, Department of Health, and other agencies of government like Malacanang and the Department of Budget which permitted the use of Dengvaxia in the Philippines even if its safety and effectivity have not been confirmed yet, should be inoculated with it, too. For good measure, the officials’ children and their other family members should also be inoculated.

This inoculation of the said officials, their children and their other relatives, should be done in front of television cameras, and in the presence of representatives from other media institutions like radio, newspapers, and magazines, under the close observation and supervision of doctors, lawmakers, and the parents of the victimized children.

If they won’t allow themselves to be vaccinated with Dengvaxia, it would be clear that they, too, don’t trust the vaccine. If they won’t agree to be inoculated by the vaccine, it would be clear that they are aware of its dangers, and that it is not really safe to use it. It would also clarify the motivation why, despite their awareness of the drug’s dangers, they still insisted on its being immediately purchased by the Noynoy Aquino government.

Indeed, no one would now want to admit what truly prompted the Noynoy Aquino government then to release some P3.5 billion in government funds to purchase Dengvaxia, despite the fact that it was not part of that year’s General Appropriations Act (or the law that approved government expenditures at that time).

But yes, not all Filipinos are stupid, and would not be able to deduce why, despite the lack of complete studies and experiments in the Philippines to assure Dengvaxia’s safety and effective nature when administered to Filipino children, the government of Noynoy Aquino rushed into its purchase. Undeniably, only stupid citizens would not doubt that some great benefit was occasioned by the acquisition and use of Dengvaxia.

I can only agree with the desire of party list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta to secure a direct commitment from the Sanofi representative who appeared before the House of Representatives on Monday, February 05, 2018, to the effect that the company would still consider refunding the full amount that the government of the Philippines paid to it for Dengvaxia.

Unfortunately, the truth was simply too glaring to miss, especially by a lawyer like Marcoleta: even if a mere ordinary person will be the one answering his questions, he or she would not be giving the answers Marcoleta wanted to hear. First, if the Sanofi representative agreed that his company will still consider a refund what was paid to them, that could amount to an admission of a defect in their vaccine—something that is now being denied by them tooth and nail.

Second, even if we assume that the representative gave a commitment for Sanofi to refund, it cannot still be used against the company, because the decision to return billions of pesos rests not with him, but with Sanofi’s board of directors. This caused many of those who listened to the House hearings on Monday that Marcoleta merely wasted too much time in asking questions the answers to which he already knew.




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