Duque faces new complaint over Dengvaxia mess

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 24) — A new complaint was lodged against Health Secretary Francisco Duque III before the Justice Department over the Dengvaxia vaccine controversy.

The parents of 13-year-old Abbie Hedia, assisted by the Public Attorney's Office (PAO), filed an obstruction of justice case on Tuesday for Duque's "refusal and continued refusal" to share the master list of Dengvaxia victims.

"Bakit po namin hinihiling? Hindi para ibandila sa buong mundo ang master list, upang ma-guide lang po ang mga imbestigador ng PAO sa ngayon sa anti-torture law," PAO chief Persida Acosta said.

[Translation: Why are we asking for it? Not to flaunt the master list to the whole world but to guide the PAO investigator on the anti-torture law.]

Hedia allegedly died after being vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

The complainants said Duque's intent is clearly to protect himself, former Health Secretary Janette Garin, and other government officials from prosecution.

PAO added Duque did not stop and deliberately continued the mass vaccination of Dengvaxia when he assumed office, despite warnings and red flags on safety.

The same petitioner earlier filed reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and torture complaint against Duque, Garin, and 35 other individuals.

Dengvaxia was administered to over 800,000 students in a school-based government immunization program in April 2016.

Pharmaceutical company Sanofi Pasteur in November 2017 announced the vaccine posed potentially severe dengue risks among those with no dengue history.

The resulting panic prompted the Health Department to suspend its program and the Senate to investigate the P3.5 billion spent on it.

Sanofi Pasteur on Feb. 5 also turned down the Health Department's demand to refund used dengue vaccine vials. It said agreeing to the demand will mean Dengvaxia does not work.

It reiterated that the vaccine remains beneficial for those previously infected.

In January, Sanofi refunded P1.16 billion worth of unused Dengvaxia dengue vaccines, saying it was to show its commitment to cooperate with health officials.