By Joel R. San Juan, December 12 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to ABS-CBN News

THE Department of Justice (DOJ) has wrapped up its preliminary investigation into the complaint lodged by former Health Secretary Janette Garin against her successor, former Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial, whom the former blamed for alleged deaths of several children due to Dengvaxia vaccine.

Assistant State Prosecutor Claire Eufracia Pagayanan said the case filed by Garin is now considered submitted for resolution following last Monday’s hearing.

During the last hearing, Ubial filed her rejoinder denying the allegations made by Garin.

In her complaint-affidavit, Garin accused Ubial of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code.

She said Ubial’s decision to shift the dengue immunization program from being school-based to a community-based program contributed to the alleged reported deaths of the immunized children.

Garin claimed that Ubial also relaxed the protocol on securing prior consent by authorizing immunization on an “implied consent” basis.

The former health secretary noted that the Department of Health (DOH) implemented a school-based dengue immunization program during her term, but when Ubial took over, there was a “reckless” decision to have it expanded into a community-based program, which may have caused the reported deaths.

“From the forgoing, it is clear that Secretary Ubial’s reckless implementation of the community-based dengue immunization program was the only possible cause of the reported deaths,” Garin said in her complaint.

“Deaths were reported soon after the implementation of Sec. Ubial’s Community-based dengue immunization program. It must be emphasized that the deaths started during Secretary Ubial’s term as DOH Secretary and afterwards,” she  added.

Garin said the DOH under her term preferred the school-based dengue immunization program “because the physical and organizational structure of such a program is already in place considering that Dengvaxia is already the sixth vaccine introduced in schools.”

“School-based vaccination, likewise, avoids politicizing immunization. In my experience community based vaccination is more prone to abuse as it can be accessed by people who can actually afford the vaccine but unjustifiably avails of the free vaccines from the health centers,” she added.

Despite this, Garin  claimed Ubial allowed the community-based dengue immunization program to continue for more than a year, issued Philippine National Drug Formulary  exemptions, expanded the program to Region 7, expanded it to cover the members of the Philippine National Police and issued orders to implement it to three more regions.

She added that Ubial continued the vaccination program and expanded it, giving the second and third doses to the first 400,000 plus students who received the vaccine during the Aquino administration.

Garin herself is facing a string of criminal charges before the DOJ also in connection with the deaths of several schoolchildren allegedly due to the anti-dengue vaccine.