Ex-DOH secretary Paulyn Ubial said solons blocked her from stopping Dengvaxia vaccinations

Image from Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines)'s Facebook account
  • Former health secretary detailed how she wanted to stop dengue vaccination program
  • She said she was however stopped by some lawmakers who wanted a second opinion
  • She also said she told her predecessor her opposition but could do nothing about it

MANILA, Philippines  –  Former health secretary Paulyn Ubial said she had wanted to stop the distribution of the controversial dengue vaccine Dengvaxia during her term but had been stopped from doing so by some members of Congress.

According to Ubial, the lawmakers whom she did not name instead wanted a second opinion when she aired her opposition during a budget hearing in Congress.

“I was indeed pressured but I did not give in. You can see the budget hearing deliberations how members of Congress bullied me,” GMA News quoted her as saying. “But the suggestion of a second opinion of convening a second Expert Panel, was made by them which I have no recourse at that point but to agree, because it’s considered acceptable practice in medicine.”

Ubial also said she had told her predecessor Janette Garin about her reservations with the drug but could do nothing further about it.

“I told Secretary Garin about it,” she said. “At that time there was already a decision from higher than the secretary of health,” she said.

“I was against it as assistant secretar], but had to do damage control when I became secretary of health. What will I do with P2.5 billion worth of vaccines when the FDA, (Food and Drugs Administration), (World Health Organization) and DOH expert panel resolved it was safe to complete the three doses?” she added.

The DOH and FDA have already suspended the distribution of Dengvaxia after its manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur admitted that those who were inoculated without previously contracting dengue stood a higher risk of suffering adverse effects.

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