By the Philippine News Agency
The Department of Health (DOH) will not be sharing the Dengvaxia masterlist containing the names of children who have been vaccinated with the dengue vaccine with the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) any time soon.
Instead, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III opted to follow the opinion of the National Privacy Commission (NPC) to keep to themselves the list of children given Dengvaxia shots.
Duque, who sought opinion on the matter, said NPC has cited a provision of the Data Privacy Act of 2012, which states that a public office should not disclose any information to another government agency or a private entity without the consent of the subject of the information.
However, the DOH chief said they will comply in case they will be directed through a writ by a government agency, or a court, to provide or share the information.
“If they give us a subpoena, we will share them because that is our only protection against lawsuits,” said Duque.
The PAO has been pressing the DOH for a copy of the Dengvaxia masterlist.
NPC had earlier advised the DOH to be circumspect in sharing sensitive personal information of individuals, saying it should only do so if it deems that such sharing or disclosure is authorized under the law, or adheres to data privacy principles, and there are reasonable and appropriate security measures in place to protect the data.
On Tuesday, March 13, Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee tasked to investigate the Dengvaxia controversy, wrapped up the Senate inquiry on the vaccine. He said his panel will soon submit its recommendation on the issue.
“Definitely criminal proceedings should follow against all these people involved,” Gordon said.
Related to elections?
Asked if he still believes that the approval of the Dengvaxia was related to elections, Gordon said he couldn’t discount that possibility. “I think so na may correlation sa elections,” he said.
Gordon had earlier accused the Aquino administration of rushing the procurement P3.5 billion worth of the anti-dengue vaccines manufactured by French manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur.
Expert in dengue research
During the hearing, Dr. Scott B. Halstead, a US-based scientist and a leading expert in dengue research, appeared at the Senate probe to reiterate his position that the procurement of the vaccines and the government’s plan to embark on a massive school-based anti-dengue program had worried him.
“I was astonished and upset that this mass immunization is going forward,” Halstead told the panel.
Halstead told the Senate panel he tried to halt the government from administering the Dengvaxia to seronegative individuals due to a greater risk of exposing them to serious dengue.
‘There should be a test’
“I made a suggestion that before Dengvaxia was given to everybody, there should be a test. Everybody said ‘ha haha’ that is impossible, nobody have done that before. But I am sorry, that’s not ‘hahaha’, that’s possible,” added Halstead.
Halstead pointed out it was logical that the government conduct a test that allowed them to separate the children who were seropositive and seronegative.
Earlier, the DOH, now under Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s watch, suspended the administration of Dengvaxia after Sanofi Pasteur released its findings alerting that children who had not had dengue prior to being vaccinated has a greater chance of contracting serious dengue.
The DOH said more than 837,000 students have been administered the anti-dengue vaccine. (With a report from Hannah L. Torregoza)
Tags: dengue, dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia masterlist, DOH, DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III, DOH won’t share Dengvaxia masterlist with PAO, National Privacy Commission, Richard Gordon, Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, the Department of Health, the Senate