AUGUST 25, 2019 — Sen. Richard Gordon on Sunday said that the dengue epidemic in the country is an opportunity for the government to push for the establishment of research efforts for preventive measures against the disease.
Gordon opts to call the country as the “Dengue Fortress” of the world, saying that the epidemic should be taken as an opportunity for the Philippines to become the dengue research capital.
The senator likens the situation to Singapore and Hong Kong when the two countries built their own research arm in response to the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) epidemic in 2013.
“Let the government in this dark moment be a beacon of hope for dengue, for ourselves, for the world. Let us be a beacon of hope for the close to 800,000 children who received the first dengue vaccine in the world and who now need our help,” Gordon said.
Gordon also pointed out that the government could set up the most advanced research and development program and testing facilities for dengue specialists in anticipation of the next dengue epidemic, which occurs in a cycle of three to five-year intervals.
Funds for this could be sourced from the P1.2-billion refunded by Sanofi Pasteur, French manufacturer of the vaccine, for the unused vials of Dengaxia.
Following the complaint of a number of vaccinees’ parents that their children have developed a host of other diseases such as leukemia, rheumatic fever, and encephalitis, among others, Gordon said such developments should be thoroughly researched and studied for links with Dengvaxia, an untested and largely experimental vaccine.
“Tungkulin ng gobyerno na kunin lahat ng mga nangyayaring ‘yan, ipunin at ibigay sa mga dalubhasa para mapatunayan kung mayroong side effects na hindi natin anticipated. And if there is, it should be included as part of the research,” he said.