By Tara Yap
In a bid to reverse the anti-vaccination scare, Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Loreto Garin is proposing the creation of a national immunization advisory board.
As a former health secretary, Garin emphasized the country must legislate the creation of National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAG), which the World Health Organization (WHO) has been lobbying worldwide.
“If we have NITAG, we are aligned with WHO. We will have real experts and not pseudo experts about vaccines,” Garin emphasized.
Garin again lamented the politicization of the government’s vaccination programs, especially after the controversial anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia that was administered during her tenure as health secretary in 2016.
“Immunization should be handled by the experts and not by Congress or the Senate,” Garin added.
For Garin, the legislation of NITAG can also put an end to the misinformation being spread by anti-vaxxers in the country.
“Vaccines save lives. It doesn’t kill people,” Garin reiterated.
According to Garin, there were plans to create NITAG during the administration of former President Benigno S. Aquino III. But it was rejected by then health secretary Enrique Ona Jr., who she succeeded.
“If we create a NITAG through legislation, then it could not be abolished by a secretary or by anyone,” added Garin, who is a medical doctor by profession.