Former Department of Health secretaries Enrique Ona and Janette Garin pointed fingers at each other Monday during the Senate inquiry into the Sanofi Dengvaxia controversy.
Representatives of Sanofi acknowledged that the company would cooperate if findings showed that the recent dengue deaths of children could be traced directly to fatal complications from having been inoculated with Dengvaxia.
Dr. Ona had told the inquiry that, even before DOH started administering the community- and school-based mass vaccination program in 2016 [after he had already stepped down and was succeeded by Garin], there were medical literature tending to question the safety aspect related to the use of Dengvaxia, adding that the vaccine should not have been inoculated on 800,000 children.
Ona said the leadership that took over DOH in December 2014 are solely responsible for the decision that has resulted a major health nightmare in the country.
Dr. Garin, MD, on the other hand, countered that it was her predecessor, Ona, who asked her to tag along to meet with Aquino for a discussion on the anti-dengue vaccine. This was the time she held an undersecretary position at DOH.
Experts said it could be technically difficult to establish forensically whether or not the vaccine played a direct role in the recent juvenile deaths reported and that were being linked to Dengvaxia.