MANILA A leader in the House of Representatives is proposing a PHP1.16billion supplemental budget to assist the children who received shots of the controversial Dengvaxia antidengue vaccine.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles has filed an unnumbered bill seeking to allot a special fund to provide medical support for the children who were administered with the Dengvaxia vaccine such as medical assistance for hospitalization, medical kits, outpatient care services, including laboratory tests, among others.
Nograles said the allocation will be sourced from the refund representing some PHP1.16 billion worth of unused Dengvaxia vials given by French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur.
"This will ensure prompt and pinpointed delivery of necessary medical assistance to Dengvaxia vaccinees even as the Department of Health (DOH) continue to monitor their state in the months following their inoculation," Nograles said.
"Also, this is to allay the fears of the public on the purported effects of Dengvaxia and to prevent further deaths and illnesses of those administered with the vaccine," he added.
Under the bill, the special fund shall be used to fund the following activities: Human Resource for Health Deployment; public health management; and assistance to indigent patients either confined or outpatient in government hospitals, specialty hospitals, and local government unit hospitals.
"The money is already there and all we have to do now is to put it to good use. Using Sanofi's refund is the least we could do to try to correct a possible misstep with this particular mass vaccination program," said Nograles.
The appropriations authorized in the proposed Act shall be available for release and obligation for the purposes specified from the date of effectivity up to December 31, 2018.
Certifications received by the Nograles camp showed that the P1.16billion refund has already been transmitted to the National Treasury as of January 26, 2018.
Under the previous administration, the Philippines became the first country in the world to launch a public inoculation plan against dengue in April 2016.
The DOH has since suspended the antidengue immunization drive after Sanofi Pasteur said Dengvaxia could worsen symptoms in vaccinated children who contracted the disease for the first time.
More than 700,000 Filipino school children had already received their Dengvaxia shots by the time the DOH suspended the immunization drive.
Source: Philippine News Agency