April 8, 2021 @ 12:10 AM 2 weeks ago


TWO recipients – both 14 years old – of the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine have passed away, bringing the number of deaths attributed to anti-dengue vaccine to 163, the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) said.

PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said the latest victims were Tyrone Tisbe, of Quezon City; and Angela Cera, a Las Piñas city resident, who both died due to brain hemorrhage, among others.

The agency’s Forensics Division headed by Dr. Erwin Erfe conducted the autopsy on the victims’ remains upon request of their relatives, Atty. Acosta said.

Dr. Erfe, also a lawyer, said the victims’ parents have approached the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) to ask PAO to conduct the autopsy for the victims.

Cera, it turned out, was the best friend of Russel Laylay, who was also inoculated with the Dengvaxia vaccine and died in 2018.

Three years later, it was Cera who passed away, according to the Forensics Laboratory chief.

Both Atty. Acosta and Dr. Erfe said there was a pattern of severe internal bleeding in the brain and lungs of both of the children, and multiple organ enlargement.

In November 2017, Sanofi Pasteur Inc., the manufacturer of Dengvaxia vaccine, issued an official statement on its website, and admitted the drug could be harmful when administered to individuals not previously infected with dengue.

“Dengvaxia provides persistent protective benefits against dengue fever in those who had prior infection. For those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent dengue infection,” the statement read.

The government under then Department of Health chief Janette Garin, now Iloilo lawmaker, procured P3.5-billion worth of Dengvaxia intended for one million public school children in areas reported to have the highest incidence of dengue in 2015.

In April 2016, the school-based mass vaccination began, and that the vaccine was administered to 830,000 school children and even policemen.

Criminal complaints including violation on anti-torture law were filed by PAO late last year against Garin and incumbent Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and 37 others before the Department of Justice in connection with the case of 101 school children whose deaths were linked to Dengvaxia vaccine.

They face cases of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide, violation of the Anti-Torture Law (Republic Act 9745), violation of the Consumer Act of the Philippines (R.A. 7394) and violation of the Philippine Pharmacy Act (R.A. 10918).

Aside from Garin and Duque, other respondents include officials of Dengvaxia manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur Inc., vaccine distributor Zuellig Pharma, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and Food and Drug Administration, PAO said.

Navotas distributes DSWD’s cash aid

Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco said the national government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released P119, 800, 000 as financial assistance for qualified residents.

The mayor said he already instructed the concerned local departments to ensure an unhampered distribution of the cash aid which would be handed to the residents face-to-face.

“We make sure that everyone is strictly following the minimum safety and health protocols and I am also holding the concerned local government personnel and officials responsible in its strict implementation especially during the distribution in selected areas in the city,” he said.

As much as he wants to give most of his constituents, Mayor Tiangco said they could only rely on the official list provided by the DSWD as the city government’s basis as to who could receive the financial aid from the national government.