Panelo on Dengvaxia: ‘I was just making suggestion’

MANILA Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday said he was just making a suggestion when he said the government should consider the use again of Dengvaxia amid the rise of dengue cases in the country.

Iyong akin eh suggestion lamang dahil sabi nila na spread ng dengue grabe na naman. (I was just making a suggestion because they said dengue spreads quickly again). We need a vaccine for that, Panelo said in a Palace media briefing.

In a media interview on Wednesday, Panelo said if findings will show the benefits of using Dengvaxia against dengue, then certainly the government should consider it.

"We're always open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people. We're not closed to any suggestion," Panelo said.

Panelo, however, underscored the need to thoroughly investigate the safety and effectiveness of the controversial anti-dengue vaccine.

Panelo made the suggestion after Iloilo First District Rep. Janette Garin appealed to the government to allow anew the use of Dengvaxia.

Garin was Health secretary when the government used Dengvaxia for the anti-dengue vaccination program of the administration of then president Benigno Aquino III.

The Department of Health stopped its massive dengue immunization program using Dengvaxia in late 2017 after its manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, said patients who had no prior exposure to the dengue virus were at risk of more severe dengue.

Kailangan maghanap talaga tayo ng vaccine. Pero kung wala pa at alam naman natin iyong Dengvaxia puwede doon sa mga dati nang may dengue at wala tayong naririnig na hindi o eh 'di why don't we try it. (We need to find vaccine. But if there is still none and we know that Dengvaxia can be used by those who have dengue, why don't we try it), Panelo said.

Iko-consider lang natin (We just need to consider), we have to make a stand. As I said earlier, it needs, requires a serious study before we can use it, he added.

A group of doctors, including former DOH Secretary Esperanza Cabral, have also reportedly asked the government to lift the ban on the use of Dengvaxia.

Well, kung galing mismo kay Dra. Cabral, whom I know personally na talagang competent, eh siguro pakinggan natin iyong mga sinasabi ng mga doktor. (Well, if it came from Dr. Cabral whom I know personally as really competent, then we really should listen to the doctors). What is important is we stop the spread of dengue, and we need to find a solution to that, Panelo said.

The DOH declared red alert on dengue early last month after 115,986 dengue cases, with 491 deaths, have been recorded nationwide from January 1 to July 6 this year. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency