Tuesday, March 06, 2018

An invitation to a forum on Dengvaxia

Bangungot ng Dengvaxia
Tanong ng taumbayan: May tunay bang nagmalasakit sa ating kalusugan at kapakanan?
9 March 2018 (Friday), 1:00 - 5:00 PM
UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP CIDS)
Lower Ground Floor, Ang Bahay ng Alumni,
UP Diliman, Quezon City

Dengvaxia has become a household word for better or for worse. The subject of current marathon hearings in both Houses of Congress, it is also at the center of a raging controversy. Some defend the product and the program that implemented it as one whose benefits outweigh the possible harm. Others point out that potential harm raised red flags that indicate the precautionary principle as a better guide for action.

More than 800,000 school children have been vaccinated with Dengvaxia. The announcement of Sanofi Pasteur in November 2017 that the vaccine may bring increased risk of severe dengue in children who have not had dengue before vaccination caused alarm and panic among the public, especially among the parents of vaccinated children. Inevitably, this new development raised many questions demanding immediate answers. Soon the dengue manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, the DOH officials, dengue vaccine experts, public health and medical professionals, the Public Attorney’s Office, media and the public all weighed in.

It is not the intention of the forum to find out who is right nor who is wrong. Nor to point out the guilty and the culpable. This is for Congress and the courts to define. One thing stands clear -- public health was put at risk. It is from this vantage point that we approach the issue of Dengvaxia. We need to understand what happened, how it happened, who were the players, what vested interests played out, what lapses, omissions and negligence transpired, and above all, how can we avoid a similar public health problem, if not fiasco, from happening again in the future.

Finally, one dominant issue in the entire scenario demands closer scrutiny -- the role and involvement of Sanofi Pasteur, the manufacturer of Dengvaxia. It is hoped that from the discussions, one will acquire a better discernment of how corporate interest intervenes and intersects with the medical world and impacts the public health system.

Simply stated, the forum aims to:
1. review how Dengvaxia was introduced and developed as a public health program;
2. understand what went wrong; and
3. gather hard-earned lessons from this experience to move forward.

The forum may not achieve all it sets out to do, but let this be a beginning to continuing discussions and dialogue to assert the primacy of public health as a national policy.


Dr. Walden Bello
Maria Fatima Villena
Mercedes Fabros
Amihan Abueva
[Parents of vaccinated children]

Dr. Ramon P. Paterno

This forum is OPEN and FREE TO THE PUBLIC.

This forum is organized by the Alternative Budget Initiative Health Cluster, Dignidad, Focus on the Global South, Trade Justice Pilipinas, and Womanhealth, and co-sponsored by the UP CIDS Program on Alternative Development and the UP Third World Studies Center.

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