Garin deplores politicization of Dengvaxia issue

By Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – Former health secretary Janette Loreto-Garin deplored the politicization of the Dengvaxia controversy after the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted her and several others over alleged deaths linked to the anti-dengue vaccine.

“Let us put the primary importance to saving lives rather than politicking. It is only in the Philippines that has politicized the issue,” Garin said in a statement after the Friday indictment of the DOJ.

Health Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin Speaks before the Blue Ribbon joint with Health and Demography of questionable dengue vaccines that had been administered by the DOH to 280,000 students without passing through WHO prequalification requirements in Pasay city,December 11,2017(Czar Dancel) Former Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Garin (CZAR DANCEL / MANILA BULLETIN)

Garin, who is running for a congressional post in southern Iloilo province, also blamed politics last month after the House of Representatives recommended for the filing of criminal and civil charges against her.

Garin previously said the issue has become be a media spectacle that is aimed at pinning down former President Benigno S. Aquino III, who appointed her as health secretary.

Garin also reiterated her concern over the ill effects of the Dengvaxia controversy on the immunization program of Department of Health.

“I am more concerned with the impact of the decision on the already suffering immunization program. People might think again there is something wrong with the vaccine, which is not true," Garin emphasized.

Various officials have admitted that the Dengvaxia controversy is one of the causes in the outbreak of measles as parents were afraid to get their young children vaccinated.

Garin reiterated how the World Health Organization (WHO) said vaccines do not cause deaths.

“May our doctors overcome the challenging time when life-saving vaccines are demonized and being used as a tool for politicking,” she added.