Senate set to approve P1.16-B budget to help kids vaccinated with ‘Dengvaxia’

May 28, 2018

Approval by the Senate of a P1.16 billion supplemental budget specifically to help the 830,000 children vaccinated with ‘’Dengvaxia’’ (anti-dengue vaccine) before Congress goes on a sine die adjournment this Friday is held certain.

Sen. Loren Legarda, chairwoman of the Senate finance committee, issued the statement as her committee started Monday its public hearing on three bills seeking an appropriation of P1.16 billion for those vaccinated.

Legarda said she would submit this afternoon her committee report on the three Dengvaxia-related bills for debate on the Senate floor as soon as she has received a House of Representatives-approved version of the supplemental budget.

Since the proposed supplemental budget has been certified by President Duterte as an urgent measure, Legarda expressed confidence that an enrolled bill would be approved by both Houses before they adjourn sine die on Friday.

With Malacanang‘s certification, there is no need for the Senate to wait for a three-day printing period before approving a bill on third and final reading.
Legarda stressed that the supplemental budget is a new law and is not part of the current 2018 national budget.

As the money is for medical assistance for those vaccinated and have no medical problems yet, Legarda emphasized that she would not want a single centavo “whiffed with corruption and even slow processing or wrong monitoring of victims to avoid double jeopardy.’’

Authors of the three supplemental bills are Senators Legarda; Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee; and Joseph Victor ‘’JV’’ Ejercito whose child has been vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

Gordon said that on Nov. 29, 2017, Sanofi Pasteur, a Paris-based firm that produces the Dengvaxia, released a statement saying that ‘’for those not previously infected by dengue virus, however, the analysis found that in the longer term, more cases of severe disease could occur following vaccination upon a subsequent infection.’’

This declaration of Sanofi, according to Gordon, has caused panic and despair among parents and guardians of those children who have been vaccinated.
There were allegations that some deaths were caused by Dengvaxia vaccinations.

Ejercito said the proposed funding for the supplemental budget would initially come from the P1.16 billion refund from Zuellig Pharma for the unused Dengvaxia vaccines.

This amount is already available based on a certification from the Bureau of Treasury. It is the balance from the P3.5-billion contract.

Legarda said the P1.16 billion supplemental budget would finance the much-needed support to the vaccines by providing with medical assistance for hospitalization, medical kits, out-patient care services, including laboratory tests, among others.

“This medical assistance program will hopefully prevent further deaths and illnesses of those administered with the vaccine, regardless of cause,’’ she explained.

The Dengvaxia vaccines were administered in Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog region and the National Capital Region (NCR).

Source: Manila Bulletin