The chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on appropriations on Tuesday asked the Senate to give priority to the passage of the proposed P1.161-billion supplemental budget for the almost a million victims of the Dengvaxia vaccine.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said the absence of the much-needed funding threatened the lives of the children who were administered the vaccine.
“The funds needed to monitor them and to prevent fatalities are still up to the Senate. These funds are needed now more than ever,” Nograles said.
“All this knowledge about the potential dangers of Dengvaxia will not be of any use if we fail to act. The ill-advised actions of the government put lives at risk, and only a well-informed response by the government can mitigate those risks.”
In a meeting with affected families in Binangonan, Rizal, on Monday, Nograles said he was hopeful that the supplemental budget would be approved by the Senate on Aug. 28, or when Congress resumes a session so that the funds could be mobilized for those who were injected with Dengvaxia.
In Binangonan alone an estimated 700 children received the vaccine, and Nograles said those recipients―as well as all those vaccinated with Dengvaxia―should be provided immediate access to medical care once they got sick.
“It does not matter what these children get sick of; if they were injected with Dengvaxia, they are at risk, and the [Department of Health] should take care of everything; hospitalization, medicines, all of these should be provided,” Nograles said.
Last May, the House unanimously approved House Bill 7449 that seeks to provide a P1.161-billion fund as medical assistance to the Dengvaxia vaccine recipients. A counterpart bill is still pending in the Senate.
The supplemental fund represents the partial reimbursement made to the Philippine government by the French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur, the makers of the controversial anti-dengue drug.