By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said that it is open to considering the return of the infamous Dengvaxia if it would help in lowering the number of dengue cases in the country.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement after Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin, a former Health secretary, said the recent dengue outbreak in the country could have been prevented by the discontinued Dengvaxia vaccination drive.
In an interview, Panelo said that Malacañang is open to the idea as long as experts say that the vaccine is good for the public.
“That has to be discussed thoroughly, extensively, and we need experts to support any call for the return of Dengvaxia,” he said.
“We’re always open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people. We’re not closed to any suggestion,” he added.
According to Panelo, the Dengvaxia scare needs to be thoroughly looked into before the Palace considers its return.
“Yung mga experts hindi nagkakasundo diyan. May nagsasabing pwede, may nagsasabing hindi pwede (Experts cannot agree if the vaccine is good or bad for the public). So we need to thoroughly investigate exactly the situation involving the Dengvaxia,” he said.
“If the weight of findings shows that there is benefit using Dengvaxia against dengue, then certainly the government should consider it,” he added.
The Department of Health declared a national dengue alert on July 15 this year. According to reports, 106,630 dengue cases have been reported across the country from as of June 29, 2019. This was an 85-percent increase from the 57,564 cases reported during the first half of 2018.
“The intention of the vaccination program is to reduce hospitalization by 80 percent and to reduce the severity by 93 percent,” Garin said.
The government stopped the implementation of the Dengvaxia vaccine late 2017 after Sanofi warned that the vaccine might cause severe symptoms if given to those who did not have Dengue before.