NBI to submit initial result of probe on Dengvaxia mess

MANILA � The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is set to submit the initial results of its ongoing probe on the controversial PHP3.5 billion dengue immunization program of the Department of Health (DOH), Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Wednesday.

Aguirre earlier issued Department Order (DO) No, 763, which directed NBI to conduct investigation and case build-up over the alleged danger to public health arising from the said program of the Department of Health and French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur.

I was told yesterday (Tuesday) that they are going to submit to me the initial results of their investigation, Aguirre told reporters after the groundbreaking of the DOJ Administration Building in Manila.

Apart from this, Aguirre also issued DO No. 792 which ordered the Public Attorney's Office (PAO) to provide free legal assistance to the families of all victims who received Dengvaxia shots.

Both the NBI and the PAO are attached agencies under the Department of Justice (DOJ).

On Monday, PAO Chief Persida Acosta said they were waiting for the autopsy results of the victims who died after they were given Dengvaxia shots.

Acosta said these results were essential to determine the officials liable for the controversial PHP3.5-billion dengue vaccine project of the Department of Health (DOH).

Among the more than a hundred requests, Acosta said the PAO forensics team had autopsied seven children who died after being vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

In the meantime, Acosta refused to reveal whom her office intends to sue regarding the Dengvaxia issue.

Acosta explained the PAO is focused on the civil, criminal, and administrative aspects of the case, while, the NBI is conducting its own probe to determine who should be held liable for graft and plunder.

The DOH said around 10 percent of the over 700,000 school children who received the shots were at risk to a "severe" case of the disease, prompting DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III to order the suspension of the vaccination program pending recommendation from WHO experts.

Sanofi Pasteur recently issued an advisory to the public that its product Dengvaxia is effective for people who have had dengue prior to immunization. But it puts at risk those who have not contracted dengue to a severe case of the disease.

Source: Philippine News Agency