Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi Pasteur is not yet “off the hook” despite the findings of University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Dengue Investigative Task Force last week which shows that there was no evidence directly linking Dengvaxia to the deaths of nine out of 14 vaccinated children.
“Hindi pa tapos ang usapin (The talk is not yet over). May VACC [Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption] complaint na election offense ang ginawa nila, merong reklamo na hindi sila nag-disclose fully kung ano yung side-effect ng bakuna so hindi ibig sabihin na ang finding ng UP-PGH na nagsasabi na siyam walang kinalaman sa Dengvaxia, wala na silang pananagutan (There is a VACC complaint that what they did is an election offense. There is a complaint that they did not fully disclose the side-effects of the vaccine so it does not mean that because the findings of UP-PGH showed that nine are not related to Dengvaxia, they have no liability),” Roque said in a Palace briefing on Monday.
The Palace official said that there are a lot of possible liabilities once it is proven that they have knowledge on the side-effect of the vaccine but failed to disclose it.
“They must be dreaming if they think they’re off the hook,” he stressed.
Roque reminded Sanofi that it is not yet absolved since the investigation on the Dengvaxia mess is ongoing, and that it is too soon to jump into conclusions.
“Wala pang final finding ang NBI [National Bureau of Investigation], antayin natin ‘yan (NBI has no final finding, let’s wait for it), no one is responsible and yet no one is off the hook at this stage. Dream on, Sanofi,”the Spokesman said.
Meanwhile, Malacañang on Monday said it dismissed the appeal of health experts asking the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) to stop conducting autopsies on the bodies of children who allegedly died due to Dengvaxia.
“We’re flatly rejecting the call of the physicians to put an end to the exhumation because the position of the government is we’re in search of the truth, we will resort to autopsy when it’s needed,” Roque said.
He said that performing autopsies on the body will continue because the finding of UP-PGH showed that autopsy will have to be conducted within 24 hours on the death of a suspected Dengvaxia case.
The PAO is currently investigating the deaths linked to the controversial vaccine, and has performed several autopsies on the victims. The agency insists on conducting forensic examinations independently despite the Department of Health’s (DOH) request to include a PGH expert in their group.
On February 2, Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo presented the findings of UP-PGH Dengue Investigative Task Force in a press conference, showing that three out of the 14 Dengvaxia-vaccinated children died of dengue after receiving the vaccine.
The report stated that three children died due to what they called dengue shock syndrome, while two of the three deaths could have resulted from vaccine failure.