Random Thoughts 

Problems created by Dengvaxia scare

By Leonardo Micua

MANY welcomed an announcement by Malacañang through Presidential Spokesman Sal Panelo just few days ago that it is open to the use of Dengvaxia vaccine amid the alarming spike in the number of dengue cases nationwide, particularly in the Visayas.

Recall that the administration of Dengvaxia was stopped following the uproar created by some parents attributing deaths of their children to Dengvaxia. This was recently aggravated by the filing of cases by these parents, assisted by Public Attorney’s Office’s  Atty. Persida Acosta, against former and current officials of DOH on the basis of alleged forensic evidence presented by Dr. Erwin Erfe. Our kababayan Health Secretary Francisco Duque III was included despite the fact that the vaccination of Dengvaxia was done before he was appointed.

During the July 23 session of the city council, City Health Officer Dr. Ophelia Rivera blamed the rampage of measles this year to continued refusal of parents to submit their children for vaccination all because of the Dengvaxia scare.

She said media only highlighted the suspected negative side of Dengvaxia, never the benefit that the vaccine offers.  She suspected that those who died weeks or months after may have had low immune system when Dengvaxia was administered. The deaths were not caused by  the vaccine. 

Dengvaxia is being used in many countries to counter dengue. But in the Philippines where dengue is now declared an all-season disease, the administration of Dengvaxia has stopped all because of the unfounded brouhaha about Dengvaxia.

She said the significant 58 percent drop in vaccination rate in Dagupan is due to continued refusal of parents to bring their children to public health centers. 

Fortunately, the number of persons afflicted with dengue in Dagupan and Pangasinan is low compared to cities and provinces in the Visayas. 

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It is funny that the same commentators who used to blame Mayor Belen Fernandez for the flooding in the city now use the same line of her defenders by telling their listeners that the daily flooding in Dagupan nowadays is spawned by climate change, and the fact that the city is one meter below sea level.

In the past, they blamed no one but Belen for the flood, for backfilling low-lying roads and allowing the backfilling of privately-owned fishponds. They refused to accept the fact that the rising sea level is caused by global warming that has already become irreversible. 

While we welcome the anti-flood Commission formed by Mayor Brian Lim to prepare a masterplan within 90 days to reduce the floods, our citizens will just have to keep their cool until that masterplan is put into effect and the needed infrastructures that it may recommend are in place. 

Defending this proposed masterplan during the KBP Forum, Lim said: “If we don’t come out with a masterplan, we don’t have any chance to solve the flood. I am trying my best to give us a chance to fight the flood”. 

And he described some people’s expectation as an “unreasonable” that since there is a new mayor, flooding will end. Now, they know.

By the way, flood caused by backflowing water from the river due to high tide was felt in Rivera, Galvan, Zamora and Jovellanos streets, all around the Central Business District, and many other coastal barangays. None of these can be found in social media today when such photos easily proliferated in the past. The trolls are suddenly overly silent. 

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The report that not one of 31 Dagupan barangays is drug-free is no  longer a big deal after P/ Col. Redrico Maranan clarified that only the documents are missing.  Many were initially alarmed by the report because it was as if drug peddlers are still around.

With Aksyon Radyo’s Ahikam Pasion, we witnessed the many ceremonies at the City Museum where drug-free certifications were issued to barangays, after the chief of police, barangay captains and then Mayor Belen Fernandez signed documents attesting to the barangays’ drug-free status.

We even saw then police chief Neil Miro holding folders that contained lists of drug personalities and actions taken against them. If it is those folders that the PDEA is looking for, it can only be in the hands of the police. 

Many barangay captains were understandably in low morale and depressed because the declaration that all the barangays are still drug-affected made them feel that their efforts in the past to clear their respective barangays of illegal drug trading seemed to have all come to naught. 

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