DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The children advocacy group Salinlahi on Tuesday hit the Department of Health (DOH) for its refusal to release into public the list of names of children who were vaccinated with Dengvaxia from 2016 until 2017.
In a statement released to the media, Salinlahi Secretary General Eule Rico Bonganay said DOH insisted the issue on privacy when it declined to make public the list of names in a recent deliberation on the budget for Dengvaxia victims in the House of Representatives.
“The DOH should consider that many children were vaccinated without the consent of their parents, it is important to release the master list for the people to effectively monitor their children,” Bonganay pointed out.
He argued that the DOH must not use the privacy issue as it will hinder the people in protecting their children amidst the public health disaster caused by Dengvaxia vaccination.
The House approved during the deliberation the proposed P1.16 billion medical support fund for Dengvaxia victims.
Salinlahi noted down that a total of 87 children who were given at least a dose of Dengavaxia vaccine already died.
Despite the debacle, the government continues to reject proposals of releasing the names of those children vaccinated.
It is also difficult to verify the number of children who are now experiencing health problems after receiving Dengvaxia vaccine sans the master list, Bonganay stressed.
“The Dengvaxia budget deliberation exposes the rotting public health situation in the Philippines, it is enraging that it costs the lives of 87 children and put the lives of about 900,000 children in danger for the government to tackle these issues. With or without Dengvaxia, public health care must be prioritized by the state!” the statement added.
Salinlahi also lauded the efforts of the parents of the victims of Dengvaxia vaccine as it blasted the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte for politicizing the controversy instead of giving priorities to the victims.
“We commend the initiative of parents in demanding assistance and justice for their children. Only if the Duterte administration prioritized the welfare of victims instead of politicizing the issue, these parents need not endure the agony of seeking assistance for their children” Bonganay said.
The Dengvaxia catastrophe also provided the Filipino people “a bitter lesson about the effects of corruption and neoliberal policies in the health sector,” he added.
Salinlahi also called on the public to remain vigilant and louden the call in seeking accountability from the government as well as in demanding the health department to effectively provide free and appropriate health care for the victims of Dengvaxia vaccines. (davaotoday.com)