DOH rejects PAO's request for Dengvaxia masterlist

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 5) — The Health Department is not entertaining the Public Attorney's Office's (PAO) request for the masterlist of Dengvaxia-vaccinated children.

This, after the National Privacy Commission (NPC) advised the Department of Health (DOH) that sharing a copy of the masterlist would be a violation of the Data Privacy Act.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said, "Pwede din kaming makulong din diyan eh, pagka binigay na namin ng ganon tapos kakasuhan kami...may kinakaukulang ano yan eh, penalties."

[Translation: We can be sent to jail for that, if we give the list and suits will be filed...there are penalties.]

Duque added they want to be sure there is no violation of the law.

The PAO earlier requested for the masterlist, which includes the birthdate, address, and other sensitive information of children with the vaccine.

This is in line with its legal assistance to families of children who died, or whose health was severely affected after they were given Dengvaxia.

NPC Chairman Raymond Liboro said the law is clear on the issue: "A public office shouldn't disclose any information to another government agency without the consent of the subject of the info."

The PAO is only allowed to have the information with the family's consent, or if PAO lawyers are representing them.

In his response to Duque's request for advisory opinion, Liboro said on February 26, "The government or its agencies...do not have the blanket authority to access or use the information about private individuals under the custody of another agency."

 

The NPC said the DOH should exercise caution in releasing sensitive personal information and should do so only when the release is authorized under law, adheres to data privacy principles, and reasonable and appropriate data security measures are in place.

Close monitoring of patients

The Health Secretary meanwhile, is continuing to inspect dengue and Dengvaxia fast lanes in some public hospitals in Quezon City

"Ginagawa ko ho ito, tinitingnan ko yung mga pasyente sa lahat ng ospital natin para naman ng sa ganon ay mamonitor ko rin kung maayos ba yung kalidad ng serbisyo na ibinibigay," he said.

[Translation: I am do this, looking into the patients in all out hospitals to monitor whether the quality of service given to them is appropriate.]

Among them, the Quirino Memorial Medical Center where six children are confined. Duque also went to the East Avenue Medical Center, where three more young Dengvaxia-vaccinated patients are confined.

RELATED: TIMELINE: The Dengvaxia controversy

Duque was satisfied with how the Dengvaxia lanes are going so far, and  he is hoping hospitals would put up a process flowchart to guide the parents of patients.

Health officials have also assured expenses for the treatment of dengue and Dengvaxia-vaccinated patients, including medicines, are free in public hospitals.

Dr. Emmanuel Bueno, director of the East Avenue Medical Center, said, "Kung kailangan ng blood examination, pupunta po sila sa laboratory, eextract-an na po yan, no questions asked. Hindi na po yan iisyuhan ng resibo or ganito, pag kailangan mag x-ray, magct-scan, gawin na rin po."

[Translation: If a blood examination is needed, they can go to the laboratory where an extraction can be done, no questions asked. No receipt or anything will be issued, if they need an x-ray, CT scan, it will be done as well.]