MANILA MalacaAang on Wednesday thanked the Senate for the speedy passage of the PHP1.16-billion supplemental budget to help children who have been vaccinated with the Dengvaxia dengue vaccine.
(We) appreciate (the) Senate's prompt approval of (the) Dengvaxia supplemental budget, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a message sent to media.
Voting 18-0, the Senate approved on third and final reading the supplemental budget after the Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday appealed to the Upper House to pass the measure.
"We are making an appeal in behalf of the children vaccinated with Dengvaxia who are the intended beneficiaries of this supplemental budget. We are urging our honorable senators to pass the Senate version of the bill," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press statement.
Duque said the amount represents the money refunded by French vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur to the DOH for the unused Dengvaxia vaccines that were returned.
Earlier, Duterte certified as urgent the bill granting the DOH supplemental budget to finance the medical assistance to recipients of Dengvaxia.
Some PHP945.8 million will be allocated for the medical assistance program for Dengvaxia recipients seeking treatment, either confined at a hospital or outpatient; PHP148.3 million will be spent on the assessment and monitoring of Dengvaxia recipients and for supplies and medicines; and PHP67.6 million will be used in the deployment of health workers, who will follow up on complaints of the vaccine recipients.
In July, Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte was selecting from a shortlist of Asian experts, who would be tasked to assess if the dengue vaccine is harmful.
Nai-report din po ni Sec. Duque na yung hihinging panel of experts na siyang mag-aaral doon sa epekto ng Dengvaxia ay naisumite na nila kay Presidente (Secretary Duque reported that the requested panel of experts who will study the effect of Dengvaxia has been submitted to the President), he said in an earlier press briefing in Indang, Cavite.
Although he did not have their names yet, Roque said the Asian experts come from Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. Duterte will pick only three of the four experts on the shortlist.
Duterte wanted disinterested parties who have no links with the government and Dengvaxia supplier, Sanofi Pasteur to settle the case once and for all.
The Public Attorney's Office (PAO) and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) expert panels tapped by the Department of Health (DOH) have their own conflicting findings on Dengvaxia.
Findings from PAO claimed that children who died and underwent forensic examination showed common signs believed to be attributed to Dengvaxia.
On the other hand, the PGH findings showed that only three out of 14 administered with Dengvaxia died but their deaths could not be directly attributed to the vaccine.
In November 2017, Sanofi issued a global advisory warning of the risks of administering Dengvaxia to persons with no history of dengue.
Several congressional investigations were held on the role of officials during the Aquino administration, which began administering the vaccine to thousands of children in 2016. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency