One of the key points in the Dengvaxia debacle/fiasco that should be looked into here is that it’s not the vaccine — which is said to have a 90 percent efficacy against dengue that is defective, it’s the manufacturer’s failure to clarify to whom the vaccine should be given to — is the problem.
When administered to those who have previously contracted and survived dengue, the recipient is guaranteed protection from the disease for a certain period of years.
However the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur Inc. belatedly found out in a post clinical trial that those who received the vaccine but had yet to be infected with dengue are at serious risk of suffering from more severe dengue symptoms.
There are at least two recorded incidents of children that were vaccinated with Dengvaxia who suffered severe symptoms of dengue after being bitten by the dengue-carrying mosquito, Aedes aegypti if memory serves me right.
One of them is Talisay City resident Jujen Ababon, who suffered from continuos nose-bleeding despite having recovered from a fever. He had to be rushed to a hospital and is now recovering from a Naga City hospital.
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The other one is a child in Pampanga province who completed the three-stage dosage for Dengvaxia and yet suffered from severe dengue. Health Secretary Francisco Duque had yet to confirm whether the child is seronegative or had not contracted dengue prior to being vaccinated.
Already there had been calls for a class suit and Sen. Ralph Recto floated the proposal that the government demand a refund from Sanofi Pasteur based on Republic Act 9184 or the Procurement Law which he said provides a “warranty” or anti-lemon provision for products that are deemed faulty or defective.
But to ask again; is Dengvaxia defective in itself or is it that the vaccine was administered to the wrong people that is at issue here? That does not in anyway clear Sanofi Pasteur of accountability.
It is in fact Sanofi’s failure to clarify and inform in time both the Philippine government and the World Health Organization (WHO) that the vaccine should be used only on those that had previously contracted dengue that has led to this fiasco.
It didn’t help of course that the previous Aquino administration may have rushed Sanofi Pasteur Inc. into completing the vaccine in time for the mass vaccination of schoolchildren. Now both former president Benigno Aquino III and Former Health Secretary Jeanette Guarin should be made to answer for their debacle.
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Was unable to watch a Senate public transportation committee hearing that was supposed to feature both Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and the leaders of the militant transport group Piston scheduled yesterday.
The hearing was over the phaseout of aging jeepneys next year which Piston was adamant against and which president Rodrigo Duterte is just as adamant in pushing through, even saying that he doesn’t want to see one single old jeepney plying the streets as early as next month.
While I agree with the prevailing opinion that the phaseout won’t start rolling until several months next year, lo and behold one major Cebu transport group made the announcement that it will purchase 20 air-conditioned jeepneys next year.
News of Citrasco’s plan to buy air-conditioned jeepneys as reported here in Cebu Daily News was met with skepticism and even sarcasm by some netizens. One such netizen complained that drivers of these jeepneys would charge higher fares and doubts whether some commuters would ride in it.
But it’s not like commuters aren’t used to paying more than P10 for fare. SM’s MyBus charges its passengers P25 for a one-way trip back to SM City Cebu which isn’t such a long route.
Some people expect or feel entitled to pay cheap for high tier quality service but that’s not how things work in the marketplace and it is a marketplace out there with other alternative transport options now available to commuters like Grab and Uber.
I do believe that a large segment of the riding public are willing to pay higher for quality, convenient rides and Citrasco, if they and other transport cooperatives are committed to acquiring these air-conditioned jeepneys, should be lauded and supported in looking after the comfort and convenience of their passengers.