By Ellson Quismoro, October 11 2018; Manila Bulletin


Image Credit to Manila Bulletin

Camiguin lone district Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo on Thursday said that the joint House panel investigation on the P3.5-billion Dengvaxia vaccine mess would be reopened once sessions resume in November.

A national immunization program manager shows an anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia inside a vaccine storage room in Sta. Cruz city, Metro Manila, December 4, 2017.

“Noong nagawa na yung final [report], kulang. May questions pa sana kami na gustong itanong (There seemed to be something missing when the final report was made. We had questions that we wanted to ask),” said Romualdo, who took over the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability following the upheaval in the Chamber last July that saw the installation of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Speaker.

“Noong nakita ko na lahat, kasi fresh eyes ako…parang ang daming kulang. Ang daming kailangang i-follow up, mga na-overlook (After I saw everything. I’ve fresh eyes on this…it seemed like there were lots of details missing. A lot needs to be followed up on, those that were overlooked),” he noted.

Romualdo made the revelation amid persisting rumors that the as-yet unreleased Committee Report on the House Dengvaxia probe would be revised.

Romualdo said among the resource persons who could be recalled to testify are former president Benigno C. Aquino III, former health secretary Janette Garin and former Budget secretary Florencio Abad.

The Aquino administration tapped the relatively new vaccine, Dengvaxia in 2016 as a response to the spike in dengue fever cases.

Manufactured by French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur, the drug was administered to an estimated 900,000 school children before the mass vaccination effort was suspended by the Duterte administration.

The suspension resulted from Sanofi’s own admission in November 2017 that Dengvaxia could be harmful for “seronegative” children, or those who have never contracted dengue but were given Dengvaxia shots anyway.

An estimated 100 vaccinees have died, and the figure is expected to rise within the identified critical period of the next three to five years.