Former DOH Secretary Janette Garin, photo from Rappler
Dr. Anthony Leachon, a former member of the Department of Health Expert Panel on Dengue, on Tuesday, said that health advocates and experts had cautioned former Health Secretary Janette Garin over the safety of Dengvaxia but their warnings were ignored

Leachon said that experts questioned the “premature” mass vaccination in 2016, citing that its safety and cost-effectiveness had not been established.

He said that the administering of the vaccine should have been on a controlled scale.

“When you launch a product, it will be exposed to about 10,000 to 20,000 kids and doctors will supervise so they can report side effects,” he said.
Dr. Anthony Leachon, photo from Radyo INQUIRER

He said it usually takes three years to give out a new vaccine in a community.

“[But they proceeded with] mass vaccination. Safety issues were alerted by health advocates and scientists in the country but you ignored that,” Leachon said.

The Department of Health suspended the immunization on December 1, after the drug's maker, Sanofi Pasteur, disclosed it had found in post-trial tests that the vaccine poses a threat to those who had no prior dengue infection.

Leachon said that Dr. Hilton Lam of the Formulary Executive Council conducted a cost-effectiveness study of the vaccine and found that it should be P655 per dose. The government sold it at P1,000 per dose.

He said they thought the price was bloated, and that it is more expensive in the Philippines than anywhere else in the world.

During the Senate probe into the questionable purchase of the P3.5 billion worth of vaccines, Garin said that the country purchased the vaccine at a lower price ($20 per dose) than Brazil ($30 per dose).

Leachon insisted that Garin and former President Benigno Aquino III should be held accountable.

“Any problem of this magnitude stops at the highest point of leadership at the Department of Health. Now of this particular magnitude where 800,000 kids [are affected], then the buck stops at the level of the office of the president,” he said.

On the other hand, Garin said that there was no corruption whatsoever in the purchase of the vaccine.

“It’s not a midnight deal. Everything was above board,” she said.

She said it was not her wish alone to purchase Dengvaxia, but that it was an institution who decided on it.

“We decided based on the data available at the time with the desire to fight dengue,” Garin said.


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Matigas ang ulo! Garin was warned of Dengvaxia, but ignored it -health reform advocate Matigas ang ulo! Garin was warned of Dengvaxia, but ignored it -health reform advocate Reviewed by FN Correspondent on 12 December Rating: 5

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