MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday vowed justice for children who allegedly died after receiving dengue vaccine Dengvaxia, as the justice department wrapped up its preliminary investigation on the first batch of cases involving the controversial vaccine.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte was monitoring issues surrounding the vaccine, used in government's anti-dengue vaccination program halted last year due to concerns over its possible harmful effects.
“He hears all the calls for justice of families of children whose deaths are reportedly caused by the said vaccine," Panelo said.
He said the Department of Justice (DOJ) was expected to come up with a resolution on the first batch of cases before the end of November.
“Appropriate charges will be lodged and pursued against government officials and private individuals found responsible by the DOJ for this failed health program for children,” Panelo said.
The DOJ recently finished the preliminary investigation on the first batch of Dengvaxia cases filed in April and May this year involving 9 victims.
The respondents include current and former Department of Health officials, led by former Health Secretary Janette Garin and incumbent Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
Also named in the complaints were executives of Sanofi Pasteur, manufacturer of the vaccine, as well as officers of Zuellig Pharma, the vaccine's distributor in the Philippines.
Government pulled out Dengvaxia from the Philippine market in December after Sanofi warned that it could trigger severe dengue symptoms if administered on those who had never contracted the mosquito-borne disease.
The drug had been used in a vaccination program initiated during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III. He is also facing criminal charges over the controversy after several parents blamed the drug for their children's death.
Sanofi, meanwhile, maintained that no death has been confirmed to have been caused by Dengvaxia.