THE Public Attorney’s Office on Friday threatened to file criminal and administrative cases against government officials who approved the use of the school-based dengue immunization program.
In a radio interview over dzMM, PAO chief Persida Acosta said they are filing the charges “at the soonest possible time so that government hospitals would be aggressive to help those zero-negative children [inoculated with the vaccine Dengvaxia].”
Dr. Anthony Leachon, a health reform advocate, would support the public attorney’s filing, Acosta said.
“I am still waiting for the [full] report of the forensic findings. We want to build a solid case. Why file if there is no solid evidence?” she said.
A seventh child examined by PAO forensic expert Dr. Erwin Erfe manifested bleeding in the brain, heart and lungs after receiving the Dengvaxia vaccine, similar to six other victims, Acosta said.
The body of the seventh child who died in October 2015 did not show any sign of decay “surprisingly,” she said.
But the PAO chief said they will stay away from the filing of a separate case over the government’s procurement of the P3.5-billion Dengvaxia vaccine from the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur.
“The Department of Justice has directed the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the procurement aspect,” she said.
“We are after those who died and those zero-negative [children],” Acosta added.
An autopsy of the remains of the seventh child who succumbed to dengue even after receiving Dengvaxia “showed a pattern in his death,” Erfe said.
Starting April 2015, the Aquino administration implemented the mass immunization of Dengvaxia among 830,000 public grade school pupils.