Garin to attend Senate probe on dengue vaccine controversy

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines – Former Health Secretary Janette Garin will attend the Senate investigation into the controversial P3.5-billion anti-dengue vaccine controversy on Monday, December 11.

This was confirmed by her brother, Leyte Vice Governor Carlo P. Loreto, on Sunday, December 10.

Loreto said the former health chief was confined at the Divine Word Hospital in the city last Friday, December 8, after she experienced severe abdominal pain.

The doctors diagnosed Garin with acute appendicitis and said she is due for an operation. However, she asked her doctors to delay the operation for her to attend the Senate inquiry.

Garin is in the city to bring the remains of her father, Jose Loreto, who died last December 4 to Baybay City.

Loreto said Garin will be coming back to the city after the hearing and to have the operation be done.

The former health secretary, who served under the adminitration of President Benigno Aquino III, is at the center of the controversy surrounding the dengue vaccine.

On December 1, the Department of Health suspended the dengue vaccination program after Sanofi Pasteur, which makes the Dengvaxia vaccine, said that the drug could cause more severe dengue if it is administered to a person who had no prior dengue infection.

DOH, under Garin, launched the program in April 2016 amid opposition from health experts who questioned its "rushed implementation."–