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Aguirre: Ex-President Aquino included in dengue vaccine probe

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Former President Benigno Aquino III will be included in the probe being conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to determine who should be held liable for the procurement of P3.5-billion worth of Dengvaxia, a dengue vaccine that has been found to put at risk inoculated children not affected by the disease.

“Everybody who was involved will be included in the NBI investigation,” Aguirre said in a text message on Monday.

The dengue vaccination project started during the Aquino administration under Health Secretary Janette Garin. It was continued by the Duterte administration during the term of Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial.

Earlier, Aguirre issued Department Order No. 763 giving NBI Director Dante Gierran the “authority to conduct investigation and case build-up over the danger to public health” of the controversial vaccination program.

“We have to know why [the DOH] ordered such a huge amount of vaccine and immediately vaccinated 733,000 schoolchildren. Is that appropriate?” Aguirre told reporters.

He noted that the DOH administered Dengvaxia just four months after it was manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur and after the drug firm “issued a warning.”

“So the next question is: ‘Did the DOH heed the warning? What was the effect [of the vaccine]?’” he said. “Then we have to look if there was criminal liability or graft and corruption aspect. But I don’t want to preempt the NBI.”

Aguirre also urged parents of children vaccinated by Dengvacia to come forward if their children would show adverse effects due to the vaccine.

“Come forward to us,” he said. “Give your information to the NBI. Help the NBI para matukoy natin at matulungan ang ating gobyerno na ang kanilang gagawin sapagkat kailangang malaman ng gobyerno natin ang nangyari lalo na yung may adverse effect lalo na sa mga bata na naturukan nitong vaccine na kung di ka pa pala nagkakasakit ng dengue ay makakasama sa iyo.” – Inquirer.net

 

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