Senate probes dengue vaccine program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Senators are questioning the apparent haste in buying dengue vaccines towards the end of the Aquino administration.

Senator Richard Gordon says the project cost was too big and was approved without congressional approval.

The Health Department under then Secretary Janette Garin launched Asia's first public dengue vaccine program last April.

Worth P3.5 billion, the project should protect at least a million young Filipinos from the deadly virus.

But Gordon said the administration party may have used a portion of the fund for the 2016 elections.

Garin is denying the claim.

She said there has been a lot of insinuations about corruption and she does not know where these are coming from.

Garin said many cannot afford the dengue vaccine in private hospitals as it costs P15,000.

Senators are also skeptical of its safety, as there was a case of a child who died supposedly after taking it.

But Garin says the death was not traced to the vaccine based on latest medical records.

Despite his criticism, Gordon is not keen of ending the program and adds its use must be further investigated and deliberated upon.

Some Senators suspect there are some irregularities in the program.