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Garin justifies purchase of vaccines

Former Health Secretary Janette Garin has assured the House of Representatives that negotiations for the purchase of some P3.2 billion in anti-dengue vaccines were aboveboard, adding that the previous administration’s anti-dengue vaccination program is vital in keeping children safe from the deadly dengue disease.

Garin aired this assurance as she chided critics of the program of engaging in a disinformation campaign aimed at stopping its implementation without even considering the dire consequences of their actions.

Testifying before the House Committee on Health Monday, Garin said medical professionals involved in feeding lawmakers and the public with malicious and tainted information against the vaccination program should be blamed if dengue deaths rise in the country.

A former member of the House, Garin accused certain medical practitioners of pursuing a smear campaign against the Department of Health for implementing the vaccination program that has already benefited 490,000 school children in the country.

Garin was finally given the opportunity to air her side on the issue during a hearing of the House Committee on Health that launched a congressional inquiry into the massive purchase of Dengvaxia from Sanofi of France.

Garin, together with Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, former director of the Food and Drugs Administration, and Dr. Hilton Lam of the Formulary Executive Council, defended the DoH decision to implement the vaccination program as dengue has become one of the most prevalent killer diseases in the country, especially victimizing the youth.

“To my fellow doctors who are here involved in this misinformation on the dengue vaccine, for every dengue death that could be prevented by the vaccine, you are to blame for this,” said Garin. (Ben R. Rosario)