Not me, him: Garin says it was her predecessor who started dengue vaccination program

Image from Dr. Janette Loreto-Garin's Facebook account
  • Former health secretary denied controversial dengue vaccination program started under her
  • She said it was actually her predecessor Enrique Ona who spearheaded the project
  • She claimed Ona had talked about the vaccination drive as early as June 2014

MANILA, Philippines – Former health secretary Janette Garin denied allegations she started the controversial dengue vaccination program; saying it was actually her predecessor Enrique Ona who had originally planned the project.

“Hindi po ito decision na ako lang. Hindi po ito sinimulan lang nung pagpasok ko,” she told ABS-CBN.

[This was not my decision alone. This was not started when I entered office.]

According to Garin, Ona had announced his intent for the Department of Health (DOH) to spearhead the program as early as June 2014.

“I think June or July [2014], Secretary Ona already announced na magkakaroon ng bakuna ng dengue by 2015, probably middle (of the year), and the department is contemplating putting it in their public health program, pero sinabi rin niya na wala pa ‘yung presyo at ‘di pa napag-uusapan,” she said.

[I think June or July 2014, Secretary Ona already announced that there will be dengue vaccine by 2015, probably middle of the year, and the department is contemplating putting it in their public health program, but he said there was no price and talks yet.]

“Base dun sa imbestigasyon, si Secretary Ona daw ang nagsimula,” she added.

[Based on the investigation, it was Secretary Ona who started it.]

Garin added that Ona’s experiment for a dengue vaccine met opposition from the DOH itself and the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for supposedly being unethical.  In the end, she said she focused on Dengvaxia which she said was also being studied by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the time.

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