Dispatch from Crame No. 204: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s statement on Aguirre’s and VACC’s alarmist press conference on the dengue vaccine

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The press conference this morning of Secretary Aguirre, flanked by VACC clowns Dante Jimenez and Atty. Topacio, is a lesson on how not to manage a public health crisis.

Citing nothing but anecdotal data and malicious speculation on the effects of the vaccine, the alarmist tact of these three stooges managed nothing but sow panic among the public. What is funny about this presscon is that not one public health expert or DOH official was present to corroborate the scientific reliability of the anecdotal data of these clowns.

Jimenez cites three alleged deaths so far as purportedly investigated by so-called VACC “DOJ force multipliers”, who are neither public health officials nor medical experts. Aguirre cites the case of the child of his friend, who is supposed to have acquired “baby TB”, which, according to Atty. “Doctor Aguirre”, resulted from the immunity impairment effects of the vaccine. Topacio, for his part, was his usual self, connecting the issue to a supposed corruption angle involving President Aquino and his alleged meeting with Sanofi, the suppliers of the vaccine, thereby maliciously implying that the former President pushed for the purchase of the dengue vaccine for some improper consideration.

What the three stooges intimated to the public is that if your child is sick today, it is because of the vaccine, and that is the fault of none other than former President Aquino who benefited therefrom by making your child sick.

These irresponsible, alarmist, speculative and even malicious statements of the Secretary of Justice, together with unaccountable members of a highly discredited organization of Duterte political hacks, should immediately be stopped and put under control by the DOH.

The dengue vaccine matter is a public health issue. The DOH must lead in informing the public of the real nature of the health risks to children that the distribution of the vaccine has supposedly caused, if any. It must not allow the issue to be used for political propaganda by Duterte hatchetmen at the expense of properly informing the public with clear scientific data.

The DOH must not allow anecdotal “science” spouted by non-qualified lawyers posing as public health experts to dominate the discourse on what otherwise should be a sober, science-based discussion led by medical experts.

Instead, the silence of the DOH on how the issue is being used as a political tool of Duterte hatchetmen is worrisome and most alarming. The DOH cannot keep staying on the sidelines while administration stooges take control over misinforming the public on the issue, and thereby manage to sow panic among the population. The bottomline is – with an issue as serious as this, let the experts and credible or rational mouths do the talking. ###

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