It was news on national television – the outbreak of measles in the Philippines, which included the National Capital Region. On Thursday, the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta washed her hands off the vaccine scare so as not to be blame for the measles outbreak.
During her interview on Unang Balita, Acosta turned the blame on Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, saying it is the Department of Health’s (DOH) that should explain as it is their duty to spread awareness regarding the anti-measles vaccine.
“Ang may tungkulin po na palakasin ang ibang bakuna, DOH po. Sila yan, hindi tayo. Sila ho ang dapat nagpapaliwanag,” she said.
She also emphasized that the Department of Justice ordered her to investigate the government’s anti-dengue vaccines using Dengvaxia as her job, and PAO should not be held responsible over the measles outbreak.
We would like to extend our warmest congratulations to Atty. Persida Rueda-Acosta for causing Measles outbreak in Metro Manila. pic.twitter.com/N2K3txDe3p
— Malacañang Events and Catering Services (@MalacananEvents) February 6, 2019
“Wala kaming pananagutan dahil tumutupad lang kami ng tungkulin,” she said.
On the other hand, Duque had blamed her for the declining of parents to vaccinate their children because of Acosta’s “baseless claim and accusations.”
In a statement last week, the DOH chief said Acosta’s allegations have resulted in the “decline in vaccine confidence and a rise in cases of measles and other vaccine preventable diseases.”
In connection with the aborted Dengvaxia program, the Public Attorney’s Office has been leading in the filling of cases against several former and incumbent government officials and private individuals. For them, the anti-dengue vaccine has resulted in the deaths of some children as cited in their forensic result.
In an interview on Super RadyodzBB on Wednesday, the DOH spokesperson Eric Domingo said the measles immunization coverage dropped in 2018 due to the hesitancy of some parents to avail of the vaccination program following the Dengvaxia controversy.
And according to Acosta, she clarified that she is not against vaccination except for Dengvaxia.
“Wala akong kalabang bakuna, wala akong kinakalaban,” she said.