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Ex-Health chief slams docs spreading wrong info on Aquino-time dengue program

Former Health Secretary Janette Garin on Monday slammed physicians resorting to "misinformation" to discredit the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, the P3.5 billion procurement currently being probed by Congress.

During Monday's House health committee hearing, Garin lamented how criticisms against the previous administration's free dengue vaccination program has been creating confusion and fear among the public.

"It is sad to note that there are some doctors who are spreading wrong information and destroy the Department of Health vaccination program to gain visibility and attain their personal agenda," Garin said.

Garin insisted she is being "wrongly and maliciously" accused of corruption for implementing the dengue vaccine program. "I categorically deny this," the former Health chief said.

Garin challenged Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) Dr. Anthony Leachon to prove that there had been irregularities in the procurement of the dengue vaccine.

Leachon and other physicians earlier questioned Dengvaxia after a study by a group of scientists published in Science in September indicated that the dengue vaccine by Sanofi Pasteur may expose those inoculated to worse strains of dengue and increase their risk of hospitalization.

"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.

The former Health secretary recalled the time when the rotavirus vaccination was not implemented also due to wrong information on its safety.

"What happened? We had outbreaks of diarrhea due to rotavirus in Zamboanga and Samar where babies died from a disease that can be prevented by a vaccine," she said.

The Senate is also currently investigating the Aquino administration's dengue vaccination program. —ALG, GMA News