Senator Richard J. Gordon said Friday the government must be held accountable for the medical nightmare sparked by the mass immunization of children with the anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia.
“The government must own up to its responsibility to the fact that they, albeit the previous administration, pushed Dengvaxia, an untested and largely experimental drug that cannot be used for mass immunization and caused a medical nightmare,” Gordon said.
“The government must be held accountable. In fact, the permit was only for prescription under doctors” supervision but the Department of Health, at that time under [former Health Secretary] Janette Garin, forced the issue and made it mass immunization.”
“You cannot leave the damage done to people who did not ask for it but were imposed on them by the government to take mass immunization, especially after Sanofi, although belatedly, and other experts before Sanofi said that they could be in danger of death or violent dengue.”
Gordon is the chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee that conducted the hearings on the Dengvaxia controversy.
“We must look out for the people who introduced this, who forced this to our country and we must have the closure that is necessary,” Gordon said.
But he said it seemed people were afraid to make strong decisions in this country.
“And that is the reason why I posed it as ‘Acta non verba.’ Action, not words!” Gordon said.
He said Article II, Section 13 of the Constitution mandates the state to protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.
He said the government was bound to allay the parents’ fears when they felt that they were in peril even if it was the past administration that pushed the vaccine.
“If we follow the constitutional mandate for us to protect our people, we will be protecting those afflicted due to the fault of the previous government, and there should really be a final closure,” Gordon said.
He said the parents of the children were thrown into a situation of doubt that might last their lifetimes.
During their lifetimes, they would be scared for their children, but they were not informed that this would happen.
“Every time their children have fever, they have to rush them to a hospital to avoid any bad situation,” Gordon said.
At the time Dengvaxia was administered to the children, it had yet to finish all the phases of clinical testing.
Gordon issued the call as the country battles with a dengue epidemic, with 188,562 cases recorded from Jan. 1 to Aug. 3 and 807 deaths.
The dengue outbreak, Gordon said, had made the parents of about 800,000 vaccinees more anxious than ever.