By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo believes the use of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine should be deferred to medical experts amid the national dengue epidemic.
“Mayroong mga kumokontra, mayroong mga nagsasabi na magiging epektibo lang iyan doon sa nagkaroon na or na-expose na, etcetera Pero sa atin, magde-defer tayo sa mga experts,” she said. (There are people who oppose it, there are those who say it would be only effective to those who had dengue or exposed to it, etcetera. But for me, let us defer to experts.)
“Kasi ngayon ipinagbawal. Pero nakita natin, parang sa maraming bansa, parang pinayag na. Pinayag na gamitin na siya. So iyong sa atin, sana mag-defer sa experts,” Robredo added. (We have stopped its use. But we have seen that in many countries its use has been allowed. I would rather defer to experts.)
The Vice President made the statement after President Duterte said he was open to using Dengvaxia again following the recent declaration of a national dengue epidemic by the Department of Health (DOH).
According to the DOH, 622 deaths have been recorded out of the 146,062 dengue cases this year. This was a 98-percent increase from the same period in 2018.
Robredo, who is the leader of the opposition, said the use of the Dengvaxia vaccine should no longer be politicized because public health is at stake.
She cited the recommendation of physicians to make the dengue vaccine available to the public to address the spike in dengue cases in the country.
“Sila din iyong nagsasabi na gawing available on a voluntary basis. Kung ayaw, eh ‘di huwag. Pero iyong gustong mag-avail, payagang mag-avail,” Robredo said. (They are the ones saying that the vaccine should be made available on a voluntary basis. If they don’t want to avail, then don’t. But those who want to should be allowed to.)