Garin is solely responsible for Dengvaxia health nightmare - former DOH chief Ona

Photo file from ABS CBN

Manila, Philippines – On Monday, former Health Secretary Enrique Ona blamed his successor, the Department of Health (DOH) secretary during Aquino’s administration, Janette Garin, over the nightmare caused by Dengvaxia dengue vaccine.

Senate Blue Ribbon continued the investigation of the controversial procurement of P3.5 billion to purchase Dengavaxia vaccine fromFrench pharmaceutical Sanofi Pasteur.

Ona reiterated  that the leadership that took over the position he left on December 2014 “is solely responsible for all the decisions” 

Ona also denied that statement of former president Benigno Aquino III that he was part of the meeting with the executives of Sanofi in Beijing, China in December, 2014. 

According to Ona, it was Garin, who was then under his watch, who took over the DOH Secretary position from being the Undersecretary. 

It was also during Garin’s time that the Dengavaxia anti-Dengue vaccine was administered to around 830, 000 public school students.

DOH records said that Dengvaxia was implemented and launched in Central Luzon, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon), Metro Manila, and Cebu.

“I had high hopes like many others that the vaccine being developed would eventually control this mosquito-borne disease that affects more than a hundred thousand Filipinos or patients annually and scares so many of our foreign visitors and tourists,” Ona told the Blue ribbon  committee chair, Richard Gordon.

“In light of this Sanofi Pasteur’s advisory on the use of anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, the leadership that took over the DOH after I left on December 20, 2014 is solely responsible for all the decisions that have resulted in what was becoming to be a major health nightmare in the country,” Ona explained.

Ona said, had he been the secretary then, he would not have recommended implementing Dengvaxia.

“Dapat po this should have not been implemented the way it was done. Meaning, targeting almost a million children because the basis for the issues that were being raised was still a big question mark,” he said.

“I would have not agreed in that extent. I would not have gone into that,” Ona further stressed.

When Gordon further verifies if it was true that he was with Aquino’s meeting with Sanofi ni Beijing, the former DOH chief denied that he was. 

“I looked over my passport because of this insinuation that I was with the President in Beijing (in November). Wala po. I was not (there),” Ona pointed out.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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