President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday urged parents not to let the scare over the controversial anti-dengue vaccine, Dengvaxia, stop them from getting their children vaccinated for other infectious diseases.
Duterte made this call during the groundbreaking ceremony of the new site of San Lorenzo Ruiz General Hospital in Panghulo, Malabon City.
“Simula ‘yung nagkaroon ng gulo dito maraming mga pamilya dito sa Pilipinas, hindi lang sa Malabon, na natakot ng mga ganitong vaccination at ayaw na (Since the Dengvaxia mess, there are many families in the Philippines, not just Malabon, who feared vaccination and no longer wanted it),” Duterte said in his speech.
“Do not be lulled and be complacent about it kasi ang sanggol talaga kailangan (because infants really need it). Iyong Dengvaxia lang kung ayaw ninyo okay lang (But if you don’t like Dengvaxia, it’s okay),” he added.
Duterte assured that the government had sufficient supply of vaccines for diseases such as polio, measles, and pneumonia among others.
“Hindi naman tayo nagkulang sa bakuna eh ‘di (We don’t lack vaccines) — because it is good and it is for the health of the person,” Duterte said.
Fears over the controversial anti-dengue vaccine rose after French vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur issued a global advisory, warning of the risks of administering Dengvaxia to persons with no history of dengue in 2017.
Both chambers of Congress held inquiries into the possibility that the purchase of the vaccine was rushed by the Aquino administration to allegedly use the funds during campaign period.
Meanwhile, Duterte also expressed desire to provide affordable, if not free, medicines and healthcare to the poor under the proposed Universal Health Care (UHC) program.
“By the way, ibinulong sa akin ni Secretary Duque. Hinahabol nila ‘yung universal healthcare (Health Secretary Franciso Duque III whispered something. They want me to include universal healthcare). Universal healthcare oh. Wala ng bayad lahat (Everything will be free),” Duterte said.
“Ang gusto ko kasi (What I want is that) there will never be a lack of medicines for the people. I really grieve for people who go around strutting, dala-dala ‘yung mga resibo na (bringing their receipts). You just go to the hospital and we will try to make out something out of this,” he later told reporters in a chance interview.
On Dec. 10, both houses of the Congress ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the UHC. At present, the bill is up for the President’s signature.
Duterte earlier certified the passage of the UHC bill as urgent to address the need for an affordable, comprehensive, and quality health care program that is accessible to all Filipinos.
The UHC program, when enacted into law, will automatically enroll all Filipinos in the National Health Insurance Program and correct the inefficiencies in the current health system. (PNA)
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