Duterte ''open'' to use Dengvaxia again
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday he is open to the use of Dengvaxia vaccine in the country once more amid the declaration of national dengue epidemic.
"Yes, I am open to the use of Dengvaxia again," Duterte told reporters in an interview, noting many have died.
"It's an epidemic," he said.
"That's why I'm in quandary whether to allow Dengvaxia or not. Me? I'd rather go on the side of science," he said.
In April 2016, the Department of Health launched a dengue vaccination program in Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and Metro Manila, covering a total of 800,000.
But late 2017, its manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, revealed Dengvaxia posed higher risks to people who had not been infected by dengue.
The health department ended the dengue vaccination program and the Food and Drug Administration ordered the permanent ban of Dengvaxia in the Philippines on December 2017.
Duterte said he would go for any medicine that would save lives.
"If nobody would believe me, still I would say that if there’s --- if there’s anything there in the Western medicine and even the herbal of the Oriental, if it could mean saving people’s lives, I’ll go for it," he said.
But before the possible re-implementation of Dengvaxia, Duterte said he wants to hear first from experts and doctors.
"And we have enough bright people here to tell us. I do not need foreigners to - telling me. My own Filipino scientists and doctors would tell me what to do. I will be guided by their announcements," he said.
Duterte said his daughter, apparently referring to Veronica, had dengue also and she had a vaccination. Celerina Monte/DMS