Senator JV Ejercito is pushing for the creation of a task force that will conduct a “thorough and comprehensive” investigation of the dengvaxia mess.
Ejercito recommended that the task force should be composed of representatives from the Department of Health (DOH), World Health Organization (WHO), Philippine Medical Association and medical societies, academe, and medical or health experts.
“I have filed Senate Resolution 557 directing the proper committee to conduct an inquiry into the dengue immunization program of the DOH vis-à-vis the Sanofi Pasteur’s new clinical finding on the vaccine Dengvaxia’s adverse effects to its recipients,” the senator said in a statement.
He said he wants to hear from WHO officials about the dengue vaccine issue before they conduct investigation, as they will arrive on December 12 and 13.
Ejercito believed that the observation and analysis of the WHO officials and the recommendation for the creation of the task force would provide a “wider grasp and understanding” of the problem.
“I may still join the Blue Ribbon Committee of Sen. Richard Gordon in the investigation on Monday if it’s really necessary because I believe that a lot of substantial information will come out in that hearing at kung hindi ko talaga siya makukumbinsi na hintayin muna ang mga [but if he will not be convinced to wait for the] WHO officials. But I still maintain that we need the findings and recommendation of the experts,” Ejercito said.
The senator said he is “puzzled and surprised” why the Philippines approved and initiated the immunization of the dengue vaccine even if the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is the equivalent to Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), has yet to approve it.
Ejercito urged the DOH to undertake surveillance of the kids injected with the vaccine and monitor the condition of those who had not been infected prior to their vaccination.
“The DOH should also verify reports of deaths which are being connected by some to Dengvaxia vaccine. What’s the real cause of the deaths?” he said.